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Copyright, 1909 
By P. F. CottiEK & Sow 






Marcus Tullius Cicero 


Marcus Tullius Cicero 


Marcus Tullius Cicero 


Gaius Plinius C^cilius Secundus 

I — HC IX 


Marcus Tullius Cicero, the greatest of Roman orators and 
the chief master of Latin prose style, was born at Arpinum, Jan. 
3, io6 B. C. His father, who was a man of property and belonged 
to the clas'S of the "Knights," moved to Rome when Cicero was 
a child; and the future statesman received an elaborate education 
in rhetoric, law, and philosophy, studying and practising under 
some of the most noted teachers of the time. He began his 
career as an advocate at the age of twenty-five, and almost 
immediately came to be recognised not only as a man of brilliant 
talents but also as a courageous upholder of justice in the face 
of grave political danger. After two years of practice he left 
Rome to travel in Greece and Asia, taking all the opportunities 
that offered to study his art under distinguished masters. He 
returned to Rome greatly improved in health and in professional 
skill, and in 76 B. C. was elected to the office of quaestor. He 
was assigned to the province of Lilybaeum in Sicily, and the 
vigor and ju/stice of his administration earned him the gratitude 
of the inhabitants. It was at their request that he undertook in 
70 B. C. the prosecution of Verres, who as praetor had subjected 
the Sicilians to incredible extortion and oppression; and his suc- 
cessful conduct of this case, which ended im the conviction and 
banishment of Verres, may be said to have launched him on his 
political career. He became aedile in the same year, in 67 B. C. 
praetor, and in 64 B. C. was elected consul by a large majority. 
The most important event of the year of his consulship was the 
conspiracy of Catiline. This notorious criminal of patrician rank 
had conspired with a number of others, many of them young 
men of high birth but dissipated character, to seise the chief 
offices of the \state, and to extricate themselves from the pecu- 
niary and other difficulties that had resulted from their excesses, 
by the wholesale plunder of the city. The plot was unmasked 
by the vigilance of Cicero, five of the traitors were summarily 
executed, and in the overthrow of the army that had been gath- 
ered in their support Catiline himself perished. Cicero regarded 
himself as the savior of his country, and hvs country for the 
moment seemed to give grateful assent. 

But reverses were at hand. During the existence of the politi- 



cal combination of Pornpey, Ccesar, and Crassus, known as the 
first triumvirate, P. Clodius, an enemy of Cicero's, proposed a 
law banishing "any one who had put Roman citizens to death 
without trial." This was aimed at Cicero on account of his share 
in the Catiline affair, and in March, 58 B. C, he left Rome. The 
same day a law was passed by which he was banished by name, 
and his property was plundered and destroyed, a temple to 
Liberty being erected on the site of his house in the city. 
During his exile Cicero's manliness to some extent deserted him. 
He drifted from place to place, seeking the protection of officials 
against assassination, writing letters urging his supporters to 
agitate for his recall, sometimes accusing them of lukewarmness 
and even treachery, bemoaning the ingratitude of his country] 
or regretting the course of action that had led to his outlawry, 
and ^suffering from extreme depression over his separation from 
his wife and children and the wreck of his political ambitions. 
Finally in August, 57 B. C, the decree for his restoration was 
passed, and he returned to Rome the next month, being received 
with immense popular enthusiasm. During the next fei0> years 
the renewal of the understanding among the triumvirs shuCl 
Cicero out from any leading part in politics, and he resumed his 
activity in the law-courts, his most important cause being, perhaps, 
the defence of Milo for the murder of Clodius, Cicero's most 
troublesome enemy. This oration, in the revised form in which 
it hois come down to us, is ranked as among the finest specimens 
of the art of the orator, though in its original form it failed 
to secure Milo's acquittal. Meantime, Cicero was also devoting 
much time to literary composition, and his letters show great 
dejection over the political situation, and a somewhat wavering 
attitude towards the various parties in the state. In 51 B. C. 
he went to Cilicia in Asia Minor as proconsul, an office which he 
administered with efficiency and integrity in civil affairs and 
with success in military. He returned to Italy in the end of the 
following year, and he was publicly thanked by the senate for 
his services, but disappointed in his hopes for a triumph. The 
war for 'supremacy between Ccesar and Pompey which had for 
some time been gradually growing more certain, broke out in 
49 B. C, when Ccesar led his army across the Rubicon, and 
Cicero after much irresolution threw in his lot with Pompey,, 
who was overthrown the next year in the battle of Pharsalus and 


later murdered in Egypt. Cicero returned to Italy, where Ccesar 
treated him tnagnanimously, and for some time he devoted him- 
self to philosophical and rhetorical writing. In 46 B. C. he 
divorced his wife Terentia, to whom he had beem married for 
thirty years and married the young and wealthy Publilia in 
order to relieve himself from financial difficulties ; but her also 
he shortly divorced. Ccesar, who had now become supreme in 
Rome, was assassinated in 44 B. C, and though Cicero was not 
a sharer in the conspiracy, he seem^ to have approved the deed. 
In the confusion which followed he supported the cause of the 
conspirators against Antony; and when finally the triumvirate 
of Antony, Octavius, and Lepidus was established, Cicero was 
included among the proscribed, and on December 7, 43 B. C, 
he was killed by agents of Antony. His head and hand were cut 
off and exhibited at Rome. 

The most important orations of the last months of his life 
zvere the fourteen "Philippios" delivered against Antony, and 
the price of this enmity he paid with his life. 

To his contemporaries Cicero was primarily the great forensic 
and political orator of his time, and the fifty-eight speeches which 
have come down to us bear testimony to the \skill, wit, eloquence, 
and passion which gave him his pre-eminence. But these 
speeches of necessity deal with the minute details of the occasions 
which called them forth, and so require for their appreciation a 
full knowledge of the history, political and personal, of the time. 
The letters, on the other hand, are less elaborate both in <style 
and in the handling of current events, while they serve to reveal 
his personality, and to throw light upon Roman life in the last 
days of the Republic in an extremely vivid fashion. Cicero as 
a man, in spite of his self-importance, the vacillation of his 
political conduct in desperate crises, and the whining despondency 
of his times of adversity, stands out as at bottom a patriotic 
Roman of substantial honesty, zvho gave his life to check the^ 
inevitable fall of the commonwealth to which he was devoted. 
The evils which were undermining the Republic bear so many 
striking resemblances to those which threaten the civic and na- 
tional life of America to-day that the interest of the period is by 
no means merely historical. 

As a philosopher, Cicero's most important function was to 
make his countrymen familiar with the main schools of Greek 


thought Much of this writing is thus of secondary interest to 
us in comparison with his originals, but in the field's of religious 
theory and of the application of philosophy to life he made im- 
portant first-hand contributions. From these works have been 
selected the two treatises, on Old Age and on Friendship, which 
have proved of most permanent and widespread interest to pos- 
terity, and which give a clear i?npression of the way in which 
a high-minded Roman thought about some of the main prob- 
lems of human life. 



THE augur Quintus Mucius Scaevola used to recount a 
number of stories about his father-in-law Gaius 
Laelius, accurately remembered and charmingly told; 
and whenever he talked about him always gave him the 
title of " the wise " without any hesitation. I had been in- 
troduced by my father to Scaevola as soon as I had as- 
sumed the toga virilis, and I took advantage of the intro- 
duction never to quit the venerable man's side as long as 
I was able to stay and he was spared to us. The conse- 
quence was that I committed to memory many disquisitions 
of his, as well as many short pointed apophthegms, and, in 
short, took as much advantage of his wisdom as I could. 
When he died, I attached myself to Scaevola the Pontifex, 
whom I may venture to call quite the most distinguished of 
our countrymen for ability and uprightness. But of this 
latter I shall take other occasions to speak. To return to 
Scaevola the augur. Among many other occasions I particu- 
larly remember one. He was sitting on a semicircular gar- 
den-bench, as was his custom, when I and a very few 
intimate friends were there, and he chanced to turn the con- 
versation upon a subject which about that time was in 
many people's mouths. You must remember, Atticus, for 
you were very intimate with Publius Sulpicius, what ex- 
pressions of astonishment, or even indignation, were called 
forth by his mortal quarrel, as tribune, with the consul Quin- 
tus Pompeius, with whom he had formerly lived on terms 
of the closest intimacy and affection. Well, on this occasion, 
happening to mention this particular circumstance, Scaevola 
detailed to us a discourse of Laelius on friendship delivered 



to himself and Laelius's other son-in-law Gains Fannius, 
son of Marcus Fannius, a few days after the death of Afri- 
canus. The points of that discussion I committed to mem- 
ory, and have arranged them in this book at my own 
discretion. For I have brought the speakers, as it were, 
personally on to my stage to prevent the constant "said I" 
and "said he" of a narrative, and to give the discourse the 
air of being orally delivered in our hearing. 

You have often urged me to write something on Friend- 
ship, and I quite acknowledged that the subject seemed one 
worth everybody's investigation, and specially suited to the 
close intimacy that has existed between you and me. Ac- 
cordingly I was quite ready to benefit the pubHc at your 

As to the dramatis personce. In the treatise on Old Age, 
which I dedicated to you, I introduced Cato as chief speaker. 
No one, I thought, could with greater propriety speak on 
old age than one who had been an old man longer than any 
one else, and had been exceptionally vigorous in his old age. 
Similarly, having learnt from tradition that of all friend- 
ships that between Gains LaeHus and Publius Scipio was 
the most remarkable, I thought Laelius was just the person 
to support the chief part in a discussion on friendship which 
Scaevola remembered him to have actually taken. Moreover, 
a discussion of this sort gains somehow in weight from 
the authority of men of ancient days, especially if they 
happen to have been distinguished. So it comes about 
that in reading over what I have myself written I have a 
feeling at times that it is actually Cato that is speaking, 
not I. 

Finally, as I sent the former essay to you as a gift from 
one old man to another, so I have dedicated this On Friend- 
ship as a most affectionate friend to his friend. In the for- 
mer Cato spoke, who was the oldest and wisest man of his 
day; in this Laelius speaks on friendship — Laelius, who was 
at once a wise man (that was the title given him) and emi- 
nent for his famous friendship. Please forget me for a 
while; imagine Laelius to be speaking. 

Gains Fannius and Quintus Mucius come to call on their 
father-in-law after the death of Africanus. They start the 


subject; Laelius answers them. And the whole essay on 
friendship is his. In reading it you will recognise a picture 
of yourself. 

2. Fannius. You are quite right, Laelius ! there never 
was a better or more illustrious character than Africanus. 
But you should consider that at the present moment all eyes 
are on you. Everybody calls you " the wise " par excellence, 
and thinks you so. The same mark of respect was lately paid 
Cato, and we know that in. the last generation Lucius Atilius 
was called " the wise." But in both cases the word was 
applied with a certain difference. Atilius was so called from 
his reputation as a jurist; Cato got the name as a kind 
of honorary title and in extreme old age because of his 
varied experience of affairs, and his reputation for foresight 
and firmness, and the sagacity of the opinions which he de- 
livered in senate and forum. You, however, are regarded 
as " wise " in a somewhat different, sense — not alone on 
account of natural ability and character, but also from your 
industry and learning; and not in the sense in which the 
vulgar, but that in which scholars, give that title. In this 
sense we do not read of any one being called wise in 
Greece except one man at Athens; and he, to be sure, had 
been declared by the oracle of Apollo also to be " the su- 
premely wise man." For those who commonly go by the 
name of the Seven Sages are not admitted into the category 
of the wise by fastidious critics. Your wisdom people be- 
lieve to consist in this, that you look upon yourself as self- 
sufficing and regard the changes and chances of mortal life 
as powerless to affect your virtue. ^.Accordingly they are 
always asking me, and doubtless also our Scaevola here, how 
you bear the death of Africanus. This curiosity has been 
the more excited from the fact that on the Nones of this 
month, when we augurs met 'as usual in the suburban villa 
of Decimus Brutus for consultation, you were not present, 
though it had always been your habit to keep that appoint- 
ment and perform that duty with the utmost punctuality. 

Scaevola. Yes, indeed, Laelius, I am often asked the 
question mentioned by Fannius. But I answer in accord- 


ance with what I have observed: I say that you bear in a 
reasonable manner the grief which you have sustained in 
the death of one who was at once a man of the most illus- 
trious character and a very dear friend. That of course 
you could not but be affected — anything else would have 
been wholly unnatural in a man of your gentle nature — but 
that the cause of your non-attendance at our college meet- 
ing was illness, not melancholy. 

Laelius. Thanks, Scaevola ! You are quite right ; you 
spoke the exact truth. For in fact I had no right to allow 
myself to be withdrawn from a duty which I had regularly 
performed, as long as I was well, by any personal misfor- 
tune; nor do I think that anything that can happen will 
cause a man of principle to intermit a duty. As for your 
telling me, Fannius, of the honourable appellation given me 
(an appellation to which I do not recognise my title, and 
to which I make no claim), you doubtless act from feelings 
of affection; but I must say that you seem to me to do less 
than justice to Cato. If any one was ever " wise," — of which 
I have my doubts, — he was. Putting aside everything else, 
consider how he bore his son's death ! I had not forgotten 
Paulus; I had seen with my own eyes Gallus. But they 
lost their sons when mere children; Cato his when he was 
a full-grown man with an assured reputation. Do not 
therefore be in a hurry to reckon as Cato's superior even 
that same famous personage whom Apollo, as you say, de- 
clared to be "the wisest." Remember the former's reputa- 
tion rests on deeds, the latter's on words. 

3. Now, as far as I am concerned (I speak to both of you 
now), believe me the case stands thus. If I were to say that 
I am not affected by regret for Scipio, I must leave the 
philosophers to justify my conduct, but in point of fact I 
should be telling a lie. Affected of course I am by the loss 
of a friend as I think there will never be again, such as I 
can fearlessly say there never was before. But I stand in 
no need of medicine. I can find my own consolation, and it 
consists chiefly in my being free from the mistaken notion 
which generally causes pain at the departure of friends. 
To Scipio I am convinced no evil has befallen: mine is 
the disaster, if disaster there be; and to be severely dis- 


tressed at one's own misfortunes does not show that ^ou love 
your friend, but that you love yourself. 

As for him, who can say that all is not more than well? 
For, unless he had taken the fancy to wish for immortaHty, 
the last thing of which he ever thought, what is there for 
which mortal man may wish that he did not attain ? In his 
early manhood he more than justified by extraordinary 
personal courage the hopes which his fellow-citizens had 
conceived of him as a child. He never was a candidate for 
the consulship, yet was elected consul twice: the first time 
before the legal age; the second at a time which, as far 
as he was concerned, was soon enough, but was near being 
too late for the interests of the State. By the overthrow of 
two cities which were the most bitter enemies of our Em- 
pire, he put an end not only to the wars then raging, but 
also to the possibility of others in the future. What need 
to mention the exquisite grace of his manners, his dutiful 
devotion to his mother, his generosity to his sisters, his 
liberality to his relations, the integrity of his conduct to 
every one? You know all this already. Finally, the esti- 
mation in which his fellow-citizens held him has been 
shown by the signs of mourning which accompanieia his 
obsequies. What could such a man have gained by the 
addition of a few years? Though age need not be a burden, 
— as I remember Cato arguing in the presence of myself and 
Scipio two years before he died, — yet it cannot but take 
away the vigour and freshness which Scipio was still en- 
joying. We may conclude therefore that his life, from the 
good fortune which had attended him and the glory he had 
obtained, was so circumstanced that it could not be bettered, 
while the suddenness of his death saved him the sensation 
of dying. As to the manner of his death it is difficult to 
speak; you see what people suspect. Thus much, however, 
I may say: Scipio in his lifetime saw many days of supreme 
triumph and exultation, but none more magnificent than 
his last, on which, upon the rising of the Senate, he was es- 
corted by the senators and the people of Rome, by the allies, 
and by the Latins, to his own door. From such an elevation 
of popular esteem the next step seems naturally to be an 
ascent to the gods above, rather than a descent to Hades. 


4. For I am not one of these modern philosophers who 
maintain that our souls perish with our bodies, and that 
death ends all. With me ancient opinion has more weight: 
whether it be that of our own ancestors, who attributed such 
solemn observances to the dead, as they plainly would not 
have done if they had believed them to be wholly anni- 
hilated; or that of the philosophers who once visited this 
country, and who by their maxims and doctrines educated 
Magna Graecia, which at that time was in a flourishing 
condition, though it has now been ruined; or that of the 
man who was declared by Apollo's oracle to be " most wise," 
and who used to teach without the variation which is to be 
found in most philosophers that " the souls of men are 
divine, and that when they have quitted the body a return 
to heaven is open to them^ least difficult to those who have 
been most virtuous and just."/ This opinion was shared by 
Scipio. Only a few days before his death — as though he 
had a presentiment of what was coming-^he discoursed for 
three days on the state of the republic. The company con- 
sisted of Philus and Manlius and several others, and I had 
brought you, Scaevola, along with me. The last part of 
his discourse referred principally to the immortality of the 
soul ; for he told us what he had heard from the elder Af ri- 
canus in a dream. Now if it be true that in proportion to 
a man's goodness the escape from what may be called the 
prison and bonds of the flesh is easiest, whom can we 
imagine to have had an easier voyage to the gods than 
Scipio? I am disposed to think, therefore, that in his case 
mourning would be a sign of envy rather than of friendship. 
If, however, the truth rather is that the body and soul perish 
together, and that no sensation remains, then though there 
is nothing good in death, at least there is nothing bad. Re- 
move sensation, and a man is exactly as though he had 
never been born; and yet that this man was born is a joy 
to me, and will be a subject of rejoicing to this State to 
its last hour. 

Wherefore, as I said before, all is as well as possible with 
him. Not so with me; for as I entered life before him, it 
would have been fairer for me to leave it also before him. 
Yet such is the pleasure I take in recalling our friendship, 


that I look upon my life as having been a happy one because 
I have spent it with Scipio. With him I was associated 
in public and private business; with him I lived in Rome 
and served abroad; and between us there was the most com- 
plete harmony in our tastes, our pursuits, and our senti- 
ments, which is the true secret of friendship. It is not there- 
fore in that reputation for wisdom mentioned just now by 
Fannius — especially as it happens to be groundless — that I 
find my happiness so much, as in the hope that the memory 
of our friendship will be lasting. What makes me care the 
more about this is the fact that in all history there arc 
scarcely three or four pairs of friends on record; and it is 
classed with them that I cherish a hope of the friendship 
of Scipio and Laelius being known to posterity. 

Fannius. Of course that must be so, Laelius. But since 
you have mentioned the word friendship, and we are at 
leisure, you would be doing me a great kindness, and I 
expect Scaevola also, if you would do as it is your habit 
to do when asked questions on other subjects, and tell us 
your sentiments about friendship, its nature, and the rules 
to be observed in regard to it. 

Scaevola. I shall of course be delighted. Fannius has 
anticipated the very request I was about to make. So you 
will be doing us both a great favour. 

5. Laelius. I should certainly have no objection if I felt 
confidence in myself. For the theme is a noble one, and we 
are (as Fannius has said) at leisure. But who am I? and 
what ability have I ? What you propose is all very well for 
professional philosophers, who are used, particularly if 
Greeks, to have the subject for discussion proposed to them 
on the spur of the moment. It is a task of considerable 
difficulty, and requires no little practice. Therefore for a 
set discourse on friendship you must go, I think, to pro- 
fessional lecturers. All I can do is to urge on you to regard 
friendship as the greatest thing in the world; for there is 
nothing which so fits in with our nature, or is so exactly 
what we want in prosperity or adversity. 

But I must at the very beginning lay down this principle — 
friendship can only exist between good men. I do not, 
however, press this too closely, like the philosophers who 


push their definitions to a superfluous accuracy. They have 
truth on their side, perhaps, but it is of no practical ad- 
vantage. Those, I mean, who say that no one but the 
" wise " is " good." Granted, by all means. But the " wis- 
dom " they mean is one to which no mortal ever yet attained. 
We must concern ourselves with the facts of everyday life 
as we find it — not imaginary and ideal perfections. Even 
Gaius Fannius, Manius Curius, and Tiberius Coruncanius, 
whom our ancestors decided to be " wise," I could never 
declare to be so according to their standard. Let them, 
then, keep this word " wisdom " to themselves. Everybody 
is irritated by it; no one understands what it means. Let 
them but grant that the men I mentioned were "good." 
No, they won't do that either. No one but the " wise " can 
be allowed that title, say they. Well, then, let us dismiss 
them and manage as best we may with our own poor 
mother wit, as the phrase is. 

We mean then by the " good " those whose actions and 
lives leave no question as to their honour, purity, equity, 
and liberality; who are free from greed, lust, and violence; 
and who have the courage of their convictions. The men 
I have just named may serve as examples. Such men as 
these being generally accounted " good," let us agree to call 
them so, on the ground that to the best of human ability 
they follow nature as the most perfect guide to a good life. 

Now this truth seems clear to me,, that nature has so 
formed us that a certain tie unites us all, but that this tie 
becomes stronger from proximity. So it is that fellow- 
citizens are preferred in our affections to foreigners, re- 
lations to strangers; for in their case Nature herself has 
caused a kind of friendship to exist, though it is one which 
lacks some of the elements of permanence. Friendship 
excels relationship in this, that whereas you may eliminate 
affection from relationship, you cannot do so from friend- 
ship. Without it relationship still exists in name, friend- 
ship does not. You may best understand this friendship by 
considering that, whereas the merely natural ties uniting 
the human race are indefinite, this one is so concentrated, 
and confined to so narrow a sphere, that affection is ever 
shared by two persons only or at most by a few. 


6; Now friendship may be thus defined : a complete accord 
on all subjects human and divine, joined with mutual good- 
will and affection. And with the exception of wisdom, I am 
inclined to think nothing better than this has been given to 
man by the immortal gods. There are people who give 
the palm to riches or to good health, or to power and office, 
many even to sensual pleasures. This last is the ideal of 
brute beasts; and of the others we may say that they are 
frail and uncertain, and depend less on our own prudence 
than on the caprice of fortune. Then there are those who 
find the " chief good " in virtue. Well, that is a noble 
doctrine. But the very virtue they talk of is the parent 
and preserver of friendship, and without it friendship can- 
not possibly exist. 

Let us, I repeat, use the word virtue in the ordinary 
acceptation and meaning of the term, and do not let us 
define it in high-flown language. Let us account as good 
the persons usually considered so, such as Paulus, Cato, 
Gallus, Scipio, and Philus. Such men as these are good 
enough for everyday life; and we need not trouble ourselves 
about those ideal characters which are nowhere to be 
met with. 

Well, between men like these the advantages of friendship 
are almost more than I can say. To begin with, how can 
life be worth living, to use the words of Ennius, which lacks 
that repose which is to be found in the mutual good-will of 
a friend? What can be more delightful than to have some 
one to whom you can say everything with the same ab- 
solute confidence as to yourself? Is not prosperity robbed 
of half its value if you have no one to share your joy? On 
the other hand, misfortunes would be hard to bear if there 
were not some one to feel them even more acutely than 
yourself. In a word, other objects' of ambition serve for 
particular ends — riches for use, power for securing homage, 
office for reputation, pleasure for enjoyment, health for 
freedom from pain and the full use of the functions of the 
body. But friendship embraces innumerable advantages. 
Turn which way you please, you will find it at hand. It is 
everywhere; and yet never out of place, never unwelcome. 
Fire and water themselves, to use a common expression, are 



not of more universal use than friendship. I am not now 
speaking of the common or modified form of it, though even 
that is a source of pleasure and profit, but of that true 
and complete friendship which existed between the select 
few who are known to fame. Such friendship enhances 
prosperity, and relieves adversity of its burden by halving 
and sharing it. 

7. And great and numerous as are the blessings of friend- 
ship, this certainly is the sovereign one, that it gives us 
bright hopes for the future and forbids weakness and de- 
spair. In the face of a true friend a man sees as it were 
a second self. So that where his friend is he is; if his 
friend be rich, he is not poor; though he be weak, his 
friend's strength is his; and in his friend's life he enjoys 
a second life after his own is finished. This last is perhaps 
the most difficult to conceive. But such is the effect of the 
respect, the loving remembrance, and the regret of friends 
which follow us to the grave. While they take the sting 
out of death, they add a glory to the life of the survivors. 
Nay, if you eHminate from nature the tie of affection, there 
will be an end of house and city, nor will so much as the 
cultivation of the soil be left. If you don't see the virtue 
of friendship and harmony, you may learn it by observing 
the effects of quarrels and feuds. Was any family ever so 
well established, any State so firmly settled, as to be be- 
yond the reach of utter destruction from animosities and 
factions? This may teach you the immense advantage of 

They say that a certain philosopher of Agrigentum, in 
a Greek poem, pronounced with the authority of an oracle 
the doctrine that whatever in nature and the universe was 
unchangeable was so in virtue of the binding force of friend- 
ship ; whatever was changeable was so by the solvent power 
of discord. And indeed this is a truth which everybody 
understands and practically attests by experience. For if 
any marked instance of loyal friendship in confronting or 
sharing danger comes to light, every one applauds it to the 
echo. What cheers there were, for instance, all over the 
theatre at a passage in the new play of my friend and guest 
Pacuvius; where the king, not knowing which of the two 


was Orestes, Pylades declared himself to be Orestes, that 
he might die in his stead, while the real Orestes kept on 
asserting that it was he. The audience rose en masse and 
clapped their hands. And this was at an incident in fiction : 
what would they have done, must we suppose, if it had 
been in real life ? You can easily see what a natural feeling 
it is, when men who would not have had the resolution to 
act thus themselves, shewed how right they thought it in 

I don't think I have any more to say about friendship. 
If there is any more, and I have no doubt there is much, 
you must, if you care to do so, consult those who profess 
to discuss such matters. 

Fannius. We would rather apply to you. Yet I have 
often consulted such persons, and have heard what they had 
to say with a certain satisfaction. But in your discourse 
one somehow feels that there is a different strain. 

Scaevola. You would have said that still more, Fannius, 
if you had been present the other day in Scipio's pleasure- 
grounds when we had the discussion about the State. How 
splendidly he stood up for justice against Philus's elaborate 

Fannius. Ah ! it was naturally easy for the justest of 
men to stand up for justice. 

Scaevola. Well, then, what about friendship ? Who could 
discourse on it more easily than the man whose chief glory 
is a friendship maintained with the most absolute fidelity, 
constancy, and integrity? 

8. Laelius. Now you are really using force. It makes no 
difference what kind of force you use: force it is. For it is 
neither easy nor right to refuse a wish of my sons-in-law, 
particularly when the wish is a creditable one in itself. 

Well, then, it has very often occurred to me when think- 
ing about friendship, that the chief point to be considered 
was this : is it weakness and want of means that make 
friendship desired? I mean, is its object an interchange of 
good offices, so that each may give that in which he is 
strong, and receive that in which he is weak? Or is it not 
rather true that, although this is an advantage naturally be- 
longing to friendship, yet its original cause is quite other. 


prior in time, more noble in character, and springing more 
directly from our nature itself? The Latin word for friend- 
ship — amicitia — is derived from that for love — amor; and 
love is certainly the prime mover in contracting mutual af- 
fection. For as to material advantages, it often happens 
that those are obtained even by men who are courted by a 
mere show of friendship and treated with respect from in- 
terested motives. But friendship by its nature admits of 
no feigning, no pretence : as far as it goes it is both genuine 
and spontaneous. Therefore I gather that friendship springs 
from a natural impulse rather than a wish for help: from 
an inclination of the heart, combined with a certain in- 
stinctive feeling of love, rather than from a deliberate 
calculation of the material advantage it was likely to confer. 
The strength of this feeling you may notice in certain ani- 
mals. They show such love to their offspring for a certain 
period, and are so beloved by them, that they clearly have 
a share in this natural, instinctive affection. But of course 
it is more evident in the case of man : first, in the natural 
affection between children and their parents, an affection 
which only shocking wickedness can sunder; and next, when 
the passion of love has attained to a like strength — on our 
finding, that is, some one person with whose character and 
nature we are in full sympathy, because we think that we 
perceive in him what I may call the beacon-light of virtue. 
For nothing inspires love, nothing conciliates affection, like 
virtue. Why, in a certain sense we may be said to feel 
affection even for men we have never seen, owing to their 
honesty and virtue. Who, for instance, fails to dwell on the 
memory of Gains Fabricius and Manius Curius with some 
affection and warmth of feeling, though he has never seen 
them? Or who but loathes Tarquinius Superbus, Spurius 
Cassius, Spurius Maelius? We have fought for empire in 
Italy with two great generals, Pyrrhus and Hannibal. For 
the former, owing to his probity, we entertain no great 
feelings of enmity : the latter, owing to his cruelty, our coun- 
try has detested and always will detest. 

9. Now, if the attraction of probity is so great that wc 
can love it not only in those whom we have never seen, but, 
what is more, actually in an enemy, we need not be surprised 


if men's affections are roused when they fancy that they 
have seen virtue and goodness in those with whom a close 
intimacy is possible. I do not deny that affection is strength- 
ened by the actual receipt of benefits, as well as by the 
perception of a wish to render service, combined with a 
closer intercourse. When these are added to the original 
impulse of the heart, to which I have alluded, a quite sur- 
prising warmth of feeling springs up. And if any one thinks 
that this comes from a sense of weakness, that each may 
have some one to help him to his particular need, all I can 
say is that, when he maintains it to be born of want and 
poverty, he allows to friendship an origin very base, and a 
pedigree, if I may be allowed the expression, far from noble. 
If this had been the case, a man's inclination to friendship 
would be exactly in proportion to his low opinion of his own 
resources. Whereas the truth is quite the other way. For 
when a man's confidence in himself is greatest, when he is 
so fortified by virtue and wisdom as to want nothing and to 
feel absolutely self-dependent, it is then that he is most 
conspicuous for seeking out and keeping up friendships. Did 
Africanus, for example, want anything of me? Not the 
least in the world ! Neither did I of him. In my case it 
was an admiration of his virtue, in his an opinion, may be, 
which he entertained of my character, that caused our affec- 
tion. Closer intimacy added to the warmth of our feelings. 
But though many great material advantages did ensue, they 
were not the source from which our affection proceeded. 
For as we are not beneficent and liberal with any view of 
extorting gratitude, and do not regard an act of kindness 
as an investment, but follow a natural incHnation to lib- 
erality; so we look on friendship as worth trying for, not 
because we are attracted to it by the expectation of ulterior 
gain, but in the conviction that what it has to give us is 
from first to last included in the feeling itself. 

Far different is the view of those who, like brute beasts, 
refer everything to sensual pleasure. And no wonder. Men 
who have degraded all their powers of thought to an object 
so mean and contemptible can of course raise their eyes to 
nothing lofty, to nothing grand and divine. Such persons 
indeed let us leave out of the present question. And let us 


accept the doctrine that the sensation of love and the 
warmth of inclination have their origin in a spontaneous 
feeling which arises directly the presence of probity is in- 
dicated. When once men have conceived the inclination, 
they of course try to attach themselves to the object of it, 
and move themselves nearer and nearer .to him. Their aim 
is that they may be on the same footing and the same level 
in regard to affection, and be more inclined to do a good 
service than to ask a return, and that there should be this 
noble rivalry between them. Thus both truths will be es- 
tablished. We shall get the most important material ad- 
vantages from friendship; and its origin from a natural 
impulse rather than from a sense of need will be at once 
more dignified and more in accordance with fact. For if it 
were true that its material advantages cemented friendship, 
it would be equally true that any change in them would dis- 
solve it. But nature being incapable of change, it follows 
that genuine friendships are eternal. 

So much for the origin of friendship. But perhaps you 
would not care to hear any more. 

Fannius. Nay, pray go on; let us have the rest, Laelius. 
I take on myself to speak for my friend here as his senior. 

Scaevola. Quite right ! Therefore, pray let us hear. 

10. Laelius. Well, then, my good friends, listen to some 
conversations about friendship which very frequently passed 
between Scipio and myself. I must begin by telling you, 
however, that he used to say that the most difficult thing in 
the world was for a friendship to remain unimpaired to the 
end of life. So many things might intervene: conflicting 
interests ; differences of opinion in politics ; frequent changes 
in character, owing sometimes to misfortunes, sometimes to 
advancing years. He used to illustrate these facts from the 
analogy of boyhood, since the warmest affections between 
boys are often laid aside with the boyish toga; and even if 
they did manage to keep them up to adolescence, they were 
sometimes broken by a rivalry in courtship, or for some 
other advantage to which their mutual claims were not com- 
patible. Even if the friendship was prolonged beyond that 
time, yet it frequently received a rude shock should the two 
happen to be competitors for office. For while the most 


fatal blow to friendship in the majority of cases was the 
lust of gold, in the case of the best men it was a rivalry for 
office and reputation, by which it had often happened that 
the most violent enmity had arisen between the closest 

Again, wide breaches and, for the most part, justifiable 
ones were caused by an immoral request being made of 
friends, to pander to a man's unholy desires or to assist him 
in inflicting a wrong. A refusal, though perfectly right, is 
attacked by those to whom they refuse compliance as a vio- 
lation of the laws of friendship. Now the people who have 
no scruples as to the requests they make to their friends, 
thereby allow that they are ready to have no scruples as to 
what they will do for their friends; and it is the recrimina- 
tions of such people which commonly not only quench friend- 
ships, but give rise to lasting enmities. " In fact," he used 
to say, " these fatalities overhang friendship in such num- 
bers that it requires not only wisdom but good luck also to 
escape them all." 

II. With these premises, then, let us first, if you please, 
examine the question — how far ought personal feeling to go 
in friendship? For instance: suppose Coriolanus to have 
had friends, ought they to have joined him in invading his 
country? Again, in the case of Vecellinus or Spurius 
Maelius, ought their friends to have assisted them in their 
attempt to establish a tyranny? Take tv/o instances of 
either line of conduct. When Tiberius Gracchus attempted 
his revolutionary measures he was deserted, as we saw, by 
Quintus Tubero and the friends of his own standing. On 
the other hand, a friend of your own family, Scaevola, Gains 
Blossius of Cumae, took a different course. I was acting as 
assessor to the consuls Laenas and Rupilius to try the con- 
spirators, and Blossius pleaded for my pardon on the ground 
that his regard for Tiberius Gracchus had been so high that 
he looked upon his wishes as law. " Even if he had wished 
you to set fire to the Capitol ? " said I. " That is a thing," 
he replied, " that he never would have wished." " Ah, but 
if he had wished it?" said I. "I would have obeyed." The 
wickedness of such a speech needs no comment. And in 
point of fact he was as good and better than his word; for 


he did not wait for orders in the audacious proceedings of 
Tiberius Gracchus, but was the head and front of them, 
and was a leader rather than an abettor of his madness. 
The result of his infatuation was that he fled to Asia, terri- 
fied by the special commission appointed to try him, joined 
the enemies of his country, and paid a penalty to the republic 
as heavy as it was deserved. I conclude, then, that the 
plea of having acted in the interests of a friend is not a 
valid excuse for a wrong action. For, seeing that a be- 
lief in a man's virtue is the original cause of friendship, 
friendship can hardly remain if virtue be abandoned. But if 
we decide it to be right to grant our friends whatever they 
wish, and to ask them for whatever we wish, perfect wisdom 
must be assumed on both sides if no mischief is to happen. 
But we cannot assume this perfect wisdom; for we are 
speaking only of such friends as are ordinarily to be met 
with, whether we have actually seen them or have been told 
about them — men, that is to say, of everyday life. I must 
quote some examples of such persons, taking care to select 
such as approach nearest to our standard of wisdom. We 
read, for instance, that Papus Aemilius was a close friend 
of Gains Luscinus. History tells us that they were twice 
consuls together, and colleagues in the censorship. Again, 
it is on record that Manius Curius and Tiberius Coruncanius 
were on the most intimate terms with them and with each 
other. Now, we cannot even suspect that any one of these 
men ever asked of his friend anything that militated against 
his honour or his oath or the interests of the republic. In 
the case of such men as these there is no point in saying 
that one of them would not have obtained such a request if 
he had made it; for they were men of the most scrupulous 
piety, and the making of such a request would involve a 
breach of religious obligation no less than the granting it. 
However, it is quite true that Gaius Carbo and Gains Cato 
did follow Tiberius Gracchus; and though his brother Caius 
Gracchus did not do so at the time, he is now the most eager 
of them all. 

12, We may then lay down this rule of friendship — 
neither ask nor consent to do what is wrong. For the plea 
"for friendship's sake" is a discreditable one, and not to 


be admitted for a moment. This rule holds good for all 
wrong-doing, but more especially in such as involves dis- 
loyalty to the republic. For things have come to such a 
point with us, my dear Fannius and Scaevola, that we are 
bound to look somewhat far ahead to what is likely to hap- 
pen to the republic. The constitution, as known to our 
ancestors, has already swerved somewhat from the regular 
course and the lines marked out for it. Tiberius Gracchus 
made an attempt to obtain the power of a king, or, I might 
rather say, enjoyed that power for a few months. Had the 
Roman people ever heard or seen the like before ? What the 
friends and connexions that followed him, even after his 
death, have succeeded in doing in the case of Publius Scipio 
I cannot describe without tears. As for Carbo, thanks to 
the punishment recently inflicted on Tiberius Gracchus, we 
have by hook or by crook managed to hold out against his 
attacks. But what to expect of the tribuneship of Gains 
Gracchus I do not like to forecast. One thing leads to an- 
other; and once set going, the downward course proceeds 
with ever-increasing velocity. There is the case of the 
ballot: what a blow was inflicted first by the lex Gabinia, 
and two years afterwards by the lex Cassia ! I seem already 
to see the people estranged from the Senate, and the most 
important affairs at the mercy of the multitude. For you 
may be sure that more people will learn how to set such 
things in motion than how to stop them. What is the point 
of these remarks ? This : no one ever makes any attempt of 
this sort without friends to help him. We must therefore 
impress upon good men that, should they become inevitably 
involved in friendships with men of this kind, they ought' 
not to consider themselves under any obligation to stand by 
friends who are disloyal to the republic. Bad men must 
have the fear of punishment before their eyes: a punish- 
ment not less severe for those who follow than for those 
who lead others to crime. Who was more famous and pow- 
erful in Greece than Themistocles ? At the head of the army 
in the Persian war he had freed Greece; he owed his exile 
to personal envy: but he did not submit to the wrong done 
him by his ungrateful country as he ought to have done. 
He acted as Coriolanus had acted among us twenty years 


before. But no one was found to help them in their attacks 
upon their fatherland. Both of them accordingly committed 

We conclude, then, not only that no such confederation of 
evilly disposed men must be allowed to shelter itself under 
the plea of friendship, but that, on the contrary, it must be 
visited with the severest punishment, lest the idea should 
prevail that fidehty to a friend justifies even making war 
upon one's country. And this is a case which I am inclined 
to think, considering how things are beginning to go, will 
sooner or later arise. And I care quite as much what the 
state of the constitution will be after my death as what it 
is now. 

13. Let this, then, be laid down as the first law of friend- 
ship, that we should ask from friends, and do for friends, 
only what is good. But do not let us wait to be asked 
either: let there be ever an eager readiness, and an absence 
of hesitation. Let us have the courage to give advice with 
candour. In friendship, let the influence of friends who 
give good advice be paramount; and let this influence be 
used to enforce advice not only in plain-spoken terms, but 
sometimes, if the case demands it, with sharpness; and when 
so used, let it be obeyed. 

I give you these rules because I believe that some won- 
derful opinions are entertained by certain persons who have, 
I am told, a reputation for wisdom in Greece. There is 
nothing in the world, by the way, beyond the reach of their 
sophistry. Well, some of them teach that we should avoid 
very close friendships, for fear that one man should have 
to endure the anxieties of several. Each man, say they, has 
enough and to spare on his own hands; it is too bad to be 
involved in the cares of other people. The wisest course is 
to hold the reins of friendship as loose as possible; you can 
then tighten or slacken them at your will. For the first con- 
dition of a happy life is freedom from care, which no one's 
mind can enjoy if it has to travail, so to speak, for others 
besides itself. Another sect, I am told, gives vent to opinions 
still less generous. I briefly touched on this subject just 
now. They affirm that friendships should be sought solely 
for the sake of the assistance they give, and not at all from 


motives of feeling and affection; and that therefore just in 
proportion as a man's power and means of support are low- 
est, he is most eager to gain friendships: thence it comes 
that weak women seek the support of friendship more than 
men, the poor more than the rich, the unfortunate rather 
than those esteemed prosperous. What noble philosophy ! 
You might just as well take the sun out of the sky as 
friendship from life; for the immortal gods have given us 
nothing better or more delightful. 

But let us examine the two doctrines. What is the value 
of this "freedom from care"? It is very tempting at first 
sight, but in practice it has in many cases to be put on 
one side. For there is no business and no course of action 
demanded from us by our honour which you can consistently 
decline, or lay aside when begun, from a mere wish to 
escape from anxiety. Nay, if we wish to avoid anxiety we 
must avoid virtue itself, which necessarily involves some 
anxious thoughts in showing its loathing and abhorrence for 
the qualities which are opposite to itself — as kindness for ill- 
nature, self-control for licentiousness, courage for coward- 
ice. Thus you may notice that it is the just who are most 
pained at injustice, the brave at cowardly actions, the tem- 
perate at depravity. It is then characteristic of a rightly or- 
dered mind to be pleased at what is good and grieved at the 
reverse. Seeing then that the wise are not exempt from the 
heart-ache (which must be the case unless we suppose all 
human nature rooted out of their hearts), why should we 
banish friendship from our lives, for fear of being involved 
by it in some amount of distress? If you take away emo- 
tion, what difference remains I don't say between a man and 
a beast, but between a man and a stone or a log of wood, 
or anything else of that kind ? 

Neither should we give any weight to the doctrine that 
virtue is something rigid and unyielding as iron. In point 
of fact it is in regard to friendship, as in so many other 
things, so supple and sensitive that it expands, so to speak, at 
a friend's good fortune, contracts at his misfortunes. We 
conclude then that mental pain which we must often 
encounter on a friend's account is not of sufficient conse- 
quence to banish friendship from our life, any more than it 


is true that the cardinal virtues are to be dispensed with 
because they involve certain anxieties and distresses. 

14. Let me repeat then, " the clear indication of virtue, 
to which a mind of like character is naturally attracted, is 
the beginning of friendship." When that is the case the rise 
of affection is a necessity. For what can be more irrational 
than to take delight in many objects incapable of response, 
such as office, fame, splendid buildings, and personal decora- 
tion, and yet to take little or none in a sentient being 
endowed with virtue, which has the faculty of loving or, if 
I may use the expression, loving back ? For nothing is really 
more delightful than a return of affection, and the mutual 
interchange of kind feeling and good offices. And if we add, 
as we may fairly do, that nothing so powerfully attracts and 
draws one thing to itself as likeness does to friendship, it 
will at once be admitted to be true that the good love the 
good and attach them to themselves as though they were 
united by blood and nature. For nothing can be more eager, 
or rather greedy, for what is like itself than nature. So, 
my dear Fannius and Scaevola, we may look upon this as 
an established fact, that between good men there is, as it 
were of necessity, a kindly feeling, which is the source of 
friendship ordained by nature. But this same kindliness 
affects the many also. For that is no unsympathetic or 
selfish or exclusive virtue, which protects even whole nations 
and consults their best interests. And that certainly it would 
not have done had it disdained all affection for the common 

Again, the believers in the "interest" theory appear to 
me to destroy the most attractive link in the chain of friend- 
ship. For it is not so much what one gets by a friend that 
gives one pleasure, as the warmth of his feeling; and we 
only care for a friend's service if it has been prompted by 
affection. And so far from its being true that lack of means 
is a motive for seeking friendship, it is usually those who 
being most richly endowed with wealth and means, and 
above all with virtue (which, after all, is a man's best sup- 
port), are least in need of another, that are most open- 
handed and beneficent. Indeed I am inclined to think that 
friends ought at times to be in want of something. For 


instance, what scope would my affections have had if Scipio 
had never wanted my advice or co-operation at home or 
abroad? It is not friendship, then, that follows material ad- 
vantage, but material advantage friendship. 

15. We must not therefore listen to these superfine gentle- 
men when they talk of friendship, which they know neither 
in theory nor in practice. For who, in heaven's name, would 
choose a life of the greatest wealth and abundance on con- 
dition of neither loving or being beloved by any creature? 
That is the sort of life tyrants endure. They, of course, can 
count on no fidelity, no affection, no security for the good- 
will of any one. For them all is suspicion and anxiety; for 
them there is no possibility of friendship. Who can love one 
whom he fears, or by whom he knows that he is feared? 
Yet such men have a show of friendship offered them, but 
it is only a fair-weather show. If it ever happen that they 
fall, as it generally does, they will at once understand how 
friendless they are. So they say Tarquin observed in his 
exile that he never knew which of his friends were real 
and which sham, until he had ceased to be able to repay 
either. Though what surprises me is that a man of his 
proud and overbearing character should have a friend at all. 
And as it was his character that prevented his having genu- 
ine friends, so it often happens in the case of men of un- 
usually great means — their very wealth forbids faithful 
friendships. For not only is Fortune blind herself; but she 
generally makes those blind also who enjoy her favours. 
They are carried, so to speak, beyond themselves with self- 
conceit and self-will ; nor can anything be more perfectly 
intolerable than a successful fool. You may often see it. 
Men who before had pleasant manners enough undergo a 
complete change on attaining power of office. They despise 
their old friends : devote themselves to new. 

Now, can anything be more foolish than that men who 
have all the opportunities which prosperity, wealth, and 
great means can bestow, should secure all else which money 
can buy — horses, servants, splendid upholstering, and costly 
plate — but do not secure friends, who are, if I may use the 
expression, the most valuable and beautiful furniture of 
life? And yet, when they acquire the former, they know 


not who will enjoy them, nor for whom they may be taking 
all this trouble; for they will one and all eventually belong 
to the strongest : while each man has a stable and inalienable 
ownership in his friendships. And even if those possessions, 
which are, in a manner, the gifts of fortune, do prove per- 
manent, life can never be anything but joyless which is 
without the consolations and companionship of friends. 

1 6. To turn to another branch of our subject. We must 
now endeavour to ascertain what limits are to be observed 
in friendship — what is the boundary-line, so to speak, beyond 
which our affection is not to go. On this point I notice three 
opinions, with none of which I agree. One is that we should 
love our friend just as much as we love ourselves, and no 
more; another, that our affection to them should exactly cor- 
respond and equal theirs to us; a third, that a man should he 
valued at exactly the same rate as he values himself. To not 
one of these opinions do I assent. The first, which holds 
that our regard for ourselves is to be the measure of our 
regard for our friend, is not true ; for how many things there 
are which we would never have done for our own sakes, but 
do for the sake of a friend ! We submit to make requests 
from unworthy people, to descend even to supplication; to 
be sharper in invective, more violent in attack. Such actions 
are not creditable in our own interests, but highly so in 
those of our friends. There are many advantages too which 
men of upright character voluntarily forego, or of which 
they are content to be deprived, that their friends may enjoy 
them rather than themselves. 

The second doctrine is that which limits friendship to an 
exact equality in mutual good offices and good feelings. 
But such a view reduces friendship to a question of figures 
in a spirit far too narrow and illiberal, as though the object 
were to have an exact balance in a debtor and creditor 
account. True friendship appears to me to be something 
richer and more generous than that comes to ; and not to be 
so narrowly on its guard against giving more than it 
receives. In such a matter we must not be always afraid of 
something being wasted or running over in our measure, or 
of more than is justly due being devoted to our friendship. 

But the last limit proposed is the worst, namely, that a 


friend's estimate of himself is to be the measure of our esti- 
mate of him. It often happens that a man has too humble 
an idea of himself, or takes too despairing a view of his 
chance of bettering his fortune. In such a case a friend 
ought not to take the view of him which he takes of him- 
self. Rather he should do all he can to raise his drooping 
spirits, and lead him to more cheerful hopes and thoughts. 

We must then find some other limit. But I must first men- 
tion the sentiment which used to call forth Scipio's severest 
criticism. He often said that no one ever gave utterance 
to anything more diametrically opposed to the spirit of 
friendship than the author of the dictum, " You should love 
your friend with the consciousness that you may one day 
hate him." He could not be induced to believe that it was 
rightfully attributed to Bias, who was counted as one of the 
Seven Sages. It was the sentiment of some person with 
sinister motives or selfish ambition, or who regarded every- 
thing as it affected his own supremacy. How can a man be 
friends with another, if he thinks it possible that he may be 
his enemy? Why> it will follow that he must wish and 
desire his friend to commit as many mistakes as possible, 
that he may have all the more handles against him; and, 
conversely, that he must be annoyed, irritated, and jealous 
at the right actions or good fortune of his friends. This 
maxim, then, let it be whose it will, is the utter destruction 
of friendship. The true rule is to take such care in the 
selection of our friends as never to enter upon a friend- 
ship with a man whom we could under any circumstances 
come to hate. And even if we are unlucky in our choice, 
we must put up with it — according to Scipio — in preference 
to making calculations as to a future breach. 

17. The real limit to be observed in friendship is this : the 
characters of two friends must be stainless. There must be 
complete harmony of interests, purpose, and aims, without 
exception. Then if the case arises of a friend's wish (not 
strictly right in itself) calling for support in a matter involv- 
ing his life or reputation, we must make some concession 
from the straight path — on condition, that is to say, that 
extreme disgrace is not the consequence. Something must 
be conceded to friendship. And yet we must not be entirely 


careless o£ our reputation, nor regard the good opinion of 
our fellow-citizens as a weapon which we can afford to 
despise in conducting the business of our life, however lower- 
ing it may be to tout for it by flattery and smooth words. 
We must by no means abjure virtue, which secures us 

But to return again to Scipio, the sole author of the dis- 
course on friendship. He used to complain that there was 
nothing on which men bestowed so little pains: that every 
one could tell exactly how many goats or sheep he had, but 
not how many friends; and while they took pains in pro- 
curing the former, they were utterly careless in selecting 
friends, and possessed no particular marks, so to speak, or 
tokens by which they might judge of their suitability for 
friendship. Now the qualities we ought to look out for in 
making our selection are firmness, stability, constancy. 
There is a plentiful lack of men so endowed, and it is diffi- 
cult to form a judgment without testing. Now this testing 
can only be made during the actual existence of the friend- 
ship ; for friendship so often precedes the formation of a 
judgment, and makes a previous test impossible. If we are 
prudent then, we shall rein in our impulse to affection as 
we do chariot horses. We make a preliminary trial of 
horses. So we should of friendship; and should test our 
friends' characters by a kind of tentative friendship. It 
may often happen that the untrustworthiness of certain men 
is completely displayed in a small money matter ; others who 
are proof against a small sum are detected if it be large. 
But even if some are found who think it mean to prefer 
money to friendship, where shall we look for those who put 
friendship before office, civil or military promotions, and 
political power, and who, when the choice lies between these 
things on the one side and the claims of friendship on the 
other, do not give a strong preference to the former? It is 
not in human nature to be indifferent to political power ; and 
if the price men have to pay for it is the sacrifice of friend- 
ship, they think their treason will be thrown into the shade 
by the magnitude of the reward. This is why true friend- 
ship is very difficult to find among those who engage in 
politics and the contest for office. Where can you find the 


arrived at their full strength and development. People must 
not, for instance, regard as fast friends all whom in their 
youthful enthusiasm for hunting or football they liked for 
having the same tastes. By that rule, if it were a mere 
question of time, no one would have such claims on our 
afifections as nurses and slave-tutors. Not that they are to 
be neglected, but they stand on a different ground. It is 
only these mature friendships that can be permanent. For 
difference of character leads to difference of aims, and the 
result of such diversity is to estrange friends. The sole 
reason, for instance, which prevents good men from making 
friends with bad, or bad with good, is that the divergence of 
their characters and aims is the greatest possible. 

Another good rule in friendship is this: do not let an 
excessive affection hinder the highest interests of your 
friends. This very often happens. I will go again to the 
region «/ fable for an instance. Neoptolemus could never 
have taken Troy if he had been willing to listen to Ly- 
con'Odes, who had brought him up, and with many tears 
tried to prevent his going there. Again, it often happens 
chat important business makes it necessary to part from 
friends: the man who tries to baulk it, because he thinks 
that he cannot endure the separation, is of a weak and 
effeminate nature, and on that very account makes but a poor 
friend. There are, of course, limits to what you ought to 
expect from a friend and to what you should allow him to 
demand of you. And these you must take into calculation in 
every case. 

21. Again, there is such a disaster, so to speak, as having 
to break off friendship. And sometimes it is one we can- 
not avoid. For at this point the stream of our discourse is 
leaving the intimacies of the wise and touching on the 
friendship of ordinary people. It will happen at times that 
an outbreak of vicious conduct affects either a man's friends 
themselves or strangers, yet the discredit falls on the friends. 
In such cases friendships should be allowed to die out 
gradually by an intermission of intercourse. They should, 
as I have been told that Cato used to say, rather be 
unstitched than torn in twain; unless, indeed, the injurious 
conduct be of so violent and outrageous a nature as to 


little flavour to friendship. A gloomy temper and unvarying 
gravity may be very impressive; but friendship should be a 
little less unbending, more indulgent and gracious, and more 
inclined to all kinds of good-fellowship and good-nature. 

19. But here arises a question of some little difficulty. 
Are there any occasions on which, assuming their worthi- 
ness, we should prefer new to old friends, just as we prefer 
young to aged horses? The answer admits of no doubt 
whatever. For there should be no satiety in friendship, as 
there is in other things. The older the sweeter, as in wines 
that keep well. And the proverb is a true one, " You must 
eat many a peck of salt with a man to be thorough friends 
with him." Novelty, indeed, has its advantage, which we 
must not despise. There is always hope of fruit, as there 
is in healthy blades of corn. But age too must have its 
proper position ; and, in fact, the influence of time and habit 
is very great. To recur to the illustration of the horse 
which I have just now used. Every one likes ceteris paribus 
to use the horse to which he has been accustomed, rather 
than one that is untried and new. And it is not only in the 
case of a living thing that this rule holds good, but in 
inanimate things also; for we like places where we have 
lived the longest, even though they are mountainous and 
covered with forest. But here is another golden rule in 
friendship : put youtself on a level with your friend. For it 
often happens that there are certain superiorities, as for 
example Scipio's in what I may call our set. Now he never 
assumed any airs of superiority over Philus, or Rupilius, 
or Mummius, or over friends of a lower rank still. For 
instance, he always shewed a deference to his brother Quintus 
Maximus because he was his senior, who, though a man no 
doubt of eminent character, was by no means his equal. He 
used also to wish that all his friends should be the better for 
his support. This is an example we should all follow. If 
any of us have any advantage in personal character, intel- 
lect, or fortune, we should be ready to make our friends 
sharers and partners in it with ourselves. For instance, if 
their parents are in humble circumstances, if their relations 
are powerful neither in intellect nor means, we should sup- 
ply their deficiencies and promote their rank and dignity. 




You know the legends of children brought up as servants 
in ignorance of their parentage and family. When they are 
recognized and discovered to be the sons of gods or kings, 
they still retain their affection for the shepherds whom they 
have for many years looked upon as their parents. Much 
more ought this to be so in the case of real and undoubted 
parents. For the advantages of genius and virtue, and in 
short of every kind of superiority, are never realized to their 
fullest extent until they are bestowed upon our nearest and 

20. But the converse must also be observed. For in 
friendship and relationship, just as those who possess any 
superiority must put themselves on an equal footing with 
those who are less fortunate, so these latter must not be 
annoyed at being surpassed in genius, fortune, or rank. But 
most people of that sort are forever either grumbling at 
something, or harping on their claims ; and especially/ if they 
consider that they have services of their own td lUege 
involving zeal and friendship and some trouble to themse'ues. 
People who are always bringing up their services are a nu'; 
sance. The recipient ought to remember them ; the performer 
should never mention them. In the case of friends, then, 
as the superior are bound to descend, so are they bound in 
a certain sense to raise those below them. For there are 
people who make their friendship disagreeable by imagining 
themselves undervalued. This generally happens only to 
those who think that they deserve to be so; and they ought 
to be shewn by deeds as well as by words the groundlessness 
of their opinion. Now the measure of your benefits should 
be in the first place your own power to bestow, and in the 
second place the capacity to bear them on the part of him on 
whom you are bestowing affection and help. For, however 
great your personal prestige may be, you cannot raise all 
your friends to the highest offices of the State. For instance, 
Scipio was able to make Publius Rupilius consul, but not his 
brother Lucius. But granting that you can give anyone 
anything you choose, you must have a care that it does not 
prove to be beyond his powers. 

As a general rule, we must wait to make up our mind 
about friendships till men's characters and years have 


arrived at their full strength and development. People must 
not, for instance, regard as fast friends all whom in their 
youthful enthusiasm for hunting or football they liked for 
having the same tastes. By that rule, if it were a mere 
question of time, no one would have such claims on our 
affections as nurses and slave-tutors. Not that they are to 
be neglected, but they stand on a different ground. It is 
only these mature friendships that can be permanent. For 
difference of character leads to difference of aims, and the 
result of such diversity is to estrange friends. The sole 
reason, for instance, which prevents good men from making 
friends with bad, or bad with good, is that the divergence of 
their characters and aims is the greatest possible. 

Another good rule in friendship is this: do not let an 
excessive affection hinder the highest interests of your 
friends. This very often happens, I will go again to the 
region o-f fable for an instance. Neoptolemus could never 
have , tdken Troy if he had been willing to listen to Ly- 
conicdes, who had brought him up, and with many tears 
t^ied to prevent his going there. Again, it often happens 
chat important business makes it necessary to part from 
friends: the man who tries to baulk it, because he thinks 
that he cannot endure the separation, is of a weak and 
effeminate nature, and on that very account makes but a poor 
friend. There are, of course, limits to what you ought to 
expect from a friend and to what you should allow him to 
demand of you. And these you must take into calculation in 
every case. 

21. Again, there is such a disaster, so to speak, as having 
to break off friendship. And sometimes it is one we can- 
not avoid. For at this point the stream of our discourse is 
leaving the intimacies of the wise and touching on the 
friendship of ordinary people. It will happen at times that 
an outbreak of vicious conduct affects either a man's friends 
themselves or strangers, yet the discredit falls on the friends. 
In such cases friendships should be allowed to die out 
gradually by an intermission of intercourse. They should, 
as I have been told that Cato used to say, rather be 
tmstitched than torn in twain; unless, indeed, the injurious 
conduct be of so violent and outrageous a nature as to 


make an instant breach and separation the only possible 
course consistent with honour and rectitude. Again, if a 
change in character and aim takes place, as often happens, 
or if party politics produces an alienation of feeling (I am 
now speaking, as I said a short time ago, of ordinary friend- 
ships, not of those of the wise), we shall have to be on 
our guard against appearing to embark upon active enmity 
while we only mean to resign a friendship. For there can 
be nothing more discreditable than to be at open war with 
a man with whom you have been intimate. Scipio, as you 
are aware, had abandoned his friendship for Quintus 
Pompeius on my account; and again, from differences of 
opinion in politics, he became estranged from my colleague 
Metellus. In both cases he acted with dignity and modera- 
tion, shewing that he was offended indeed, but without 

Our first object, then, should be to prevent a breach; our 
second, to secure that, if it does occur, our friendship 
should seem to have died a natural rather than a violent 
death. Next, we should take care that friendship is not 
converted into active hostility, from which flow personal 
quarrels, abusive language, and angry recriminations. 
These last, however, provided that they do not pass all 
reasonable limits of forbearance, we ought to put up with, 
and, in compliment to an old friendship, allow the party that 
inflicts the injury, not the one that submits to it, to be in the 
wrong. Generally speaking, there is but one way of securing 
and providing oneself against faults and inconveniences of 
this sort — not to be too hasty in bestowing our affection, and 
not to bestow it at all on unworthy objects. 

Now, by " worthy of friendship " I mean those who have 
in themselves the qualities which attract affection. This sort 
of man is rare; and indeed all excellent things are rare; and 
nothing in the world is so hard to find as a thing entirely 
and completely perfect of its kind. But most people not only 
recognize nothing as good in our life unless it is profitable, 
but look upon friends as so much stock, caring most for those 
by whom they hope to make most profit. Accordingly they 
never possess that most beautiful and most spontaneous 
friendship which must be sought solely for itself without any 


ulterior object. They fail also to learn from their own feel- 
ings the nature and the strength of friendship. For every 
one loves himself, not for any reward which such love may 
bring, but because he is dear to himself independently of 
anything else. But unless this feeling is transferred to 
another, what a real friend is will never be revealed; for he 
is, as it were, a second self. But if we find' these two 
instincts shewing themselves in animals, — whether of the air 
or the sea or the land, whether wild or tame, — first, a love 
of self, which in fact is born in everything that lives alike; 
and, secondly, an eagerness to find and attach thmselves to 
other creatures of their own kind; and if this natural action 
is accompanied by desire and by something resembling 
human love, how much more must this be the case in man by 
the law of his nature? For man not only loves himself, but 
seeks another whose spirit he may so blend with his own as 
almost to make one being of two, 

2.2. But most people unreasonably, not to speak of mod- 
esty, want such a friend as they are unable to be themselves, 
and expect from their friends what they do not themselves 
give. The fair course is first to be good yourself, and then 
to look out for another of like character. It is between such 
that the stability in friendship of which we have been talking 
can be secured; when, that is to say, men who are united 
by affection learn, first of all, to rule those passions which 
enslave others, and in the next place to take delight in fair 
and equitable conduct, to bear each other's burdens, never to 
ask each other for anything inconsistent with virtue and rec- 
titude, and not only to serve and love but also to respect 
each other. I say " respect " ; for if respect is gone, friend- 
ship has lost its brightest jewel. And this shows the mis- 
take of those who imagine that friendship gives a privilege 
to licentiousness and sin. Nature has given us friendship 
as the handmaid of virtue, not as a partner in guilt: to the 
end that virtue, being powerless when isolated to reach the 
highest objects, might succeed in doing so in union and 
partnership with another. Those who enjoy in the present, 
or have enjoyed in the past, or are destined to enjoy in the 
future such a partnership as this, must be considered to have 
secured the most excellent and auspicious combination for 



reaching nature's highest good. This is the partnership, I 
say, which combines moral rectitude, fame, peace of mind, 
serenity: all that men think desirable because with them life 
is happy, but without them cannot be so. This being our 
best and highest object, we must, if we desire to attain it, 
devote ourselves to virtue; for without virtue we can obtain 
neither friendship nor anything else desirable. In fact, if 
virtue be neglected, those who imagine themselves to possess 
friends will find out their error as soon as some grave dis- 
aster forces them to make trial of them. Wherefore, I must 
again and again repeat, you must satisfy your judgment be- 
fore engaging your affections: not love first and judge after- 
wards. We suffer from carelessness in many of our under- 
takings : in none more than in selecting and cultivating our 
friends. We put the cart before the horse, and shut the 
stable door when the steed is stolen, in defiance of the old 
proverb. For, having mutually involved ourselves in a 
long-standing intimacy or by actual obligations, all on a 
sudden some cause of offence arises and we break off our 
friendships in full career. 

23. It is this that makes such carelessness in a matter of 
supreme importance all the more worthy of blame. I say 
" supreme importance," because friendship is the one thing 
about the utility of which everybody with one accord is 
agreed. That is not the case in regard even to virtue itself; 
for many people speak slightingly of virtue as though it 
were mere puffing and self-glorification. Nor is it the case 
with riches. Many look down on riches, being content with 
a little and taking pleasure in poor fare and dress. And as 
to the political offices for which some have a burning desire 
— how many entertain such a contempt for them as to think 
nothing in the world more empty and trivial ! 

And so on with the rest; things desirable in the eyes 
of some are regarded by very many as worthless. But 
of friendship all think alike to a man, whether those 
have devoted themselves to politics, or those who delight 
in science and philosophy, or those who follow a 
private way of life and care for nothing but their own 
business, or those lastly who have given themselves body 
and soul to sensuality — they all think, I say, that with- 


out friendship life is no life, if they want some part 
of it, at any rate, to be noble. For friendship, in one 
way or another, penetrates into the lives of us all, and 
suffers no career to be entirely free from its influence. 
Though a man be of so churlish and unsociable a nature as 
to loathe and shun the company of mankind, as we are told 
was the case with a certain Timon at Athens, yet even he 
cannot refrain from seeking some one in whose hearing he 
may disgorge the venom of his bitter temper. We should see 
this most clearly, if it were possible that some god should 
carry us away from these haunts of men, and place us some- 
where in perfect solitude, and then should supply us in 
abundance with everything necessary to our nature, and yet 
take from us entirely the opportunity of looking upon a 
human being. Who could steel himself to endure such 
a life? Who would not lose in his loneliness the zest 
for all pleasures? And indeed this is the point of the 
observation of, I think, Archytas of Tarentum. I have it 
third hand; men who were my seniors told me that their 
seniors had told* them. It was this: "If a man could ascend 
to heaven and get a clear view of the natural order of the 
universe, and the beauty of the heavenly bodies, that won- 
derful spectacle would give him small pleasure, though noth- 
ing could be conceived more delightful if he had but had 
some one to whom to tell what he had seen." So true it 
is that nature abhors isolation, and ever leans upon some- 
thing as a stay and support; and this is found in its most 
pleasing form in our closest friend. 

24. But though Nature also declares by so many indica- 
tions what her wish and object and desire is, we yet in a 
manner turn a deaf ear and will not hear her warnings. 
The intercourse between friends is varied and complex, and 
it must often happen that causes of suspicion and offence 
arise, which a wise man will sometimes avoid, at other times 
remove, at others treat with indulgence. The one possible 
cause of offence that must be faced is when the interests of 
your friend and your own sincerity are at stake. For in- 
stance, it often happens that friends need remonstrance and 
even reproof. When these are administered in a kindly 
spirit they ought to be taken in good part. But somehow or 


other there is truth in what my friend Terence says in his 

Compliance gets us friends, plain speaking hate. 

Plain speaking is a cause of trouble, if the result of it is 
resentment, which is poison of friendship; but compliance is 
really the cause of much more trouble, because by indulging 
his faults it lets a friend plunge into headlong ruin. But 
the man who is most to blame is he who resents plain speak- 
ing and allows flattery to egg him on to his ruin. On this 
point, then, from first to last there is need of deliberation and 
care. If we remonstrate, it should be without bitterness; if 
we reprove, there should be no word of insult. In the matter 
of compliance (for I am glad to adopt Terence's word), 
though there should be every courtesy, yet that base kind 
which assists a man in vice should be far from us, for it is 
unworthy of a free-born man, to say nothing of a friend. 
It is one thing to live with a tyrant, another with a friend. 
But if a man's ears are so closed to plain speaking that he 
cannot bear to hear the truth from a friend, we may give 
him up in despair. This remark of Cato's, as so many of his 
did, shews great acuteness : " There are people who owe more 
to bitter enemies than to apparently pleasant friends: the 
former often speak the truth, the latter never," Besides, it 
is a strange paradox that the recipients of advice should feel 
no annoyance where they ought to feel it, and yet feel so 
much where they ought not. They are not at all vexed at 
having committed a fault, but very angry at being reproved 
for it. On the contrary, they ought to be grieved at the 
crime and glad of the correction. 

I 25. Well, then, if it is true that to give and receive advice 
— the former with freedom and yet without bitterness, the 
latter with patience and without irritation — is peculiarly 
appropriate to genuine friendship, it is no less true that there 
can be nothing more utterly subversive of friendship than 
flattery, adulation, and base compliance. I use as many 
terms as possible to brand this vice of light-minded, untrust- 
worthy men, whose sole object in speaking is to please with- 
out any regard to truth. In everything false pretence is bad, 
for it suspends and vitiates our power of discerning the 


truth. But to nothing it is so hostile as to friendship; for it 
destroys that frankness without which friendship is an 
empty name. For the essence of friendship being that two 
minds become as one, how can that ever take place if the 
mind of each of the separate parties to it is not single and 
uniform, but variable, changeable, and complex? Can any- 
thing be so pliable, so wavering, as the mind of a man whose 
attitude depends not only on another's feeHng and wish, but 
on his very looks and nods? 

If one says " No," I answer " No " ; if " Yes," I answer " Yes." 
In fine, I've laid this task upon myself 
To echo all that's said — 

to quote my old friend Terence again. But he puts these 
words into the mouth of a Gnatho. To admit such a man 
into one's intimacy at all is a sign of folly. But there are 
many people like Gnatho, and it is when they are superior 
either in position or fortune or reputation that their flat- 
teries become mischievous, the weight of their position 
making up for the lightness of their character. But if we 
only take reasonable care, it is as easy to separate and dis- 
tinguish a genuine from a specious friend as anything else 
that is coloured and artificial from what is sincere and gen- 
uine. A public assembly, though composed of men of the 
smallest possible culture, nevertheless will see clearly the 
difference between a mere demagogue (that is, a flatterer 
and untrustworthy citizen) and a man of principle, stand- 
ing, and solidity. It was by this kind of flattering language 
that Gains Papirius the other day endeavoured to tickle 
the ears of the assembled people, when proposing his law 
to make the tribunes re-eligible. I spoke against it. But 
I will leave the personal question. I prefer speaking of 
Scipio. Good heavens ! how impressive his speech was, 
what a majesty there was in it! You would have pro- 
nounced him, without hesitation, to be no mere henchman 
of the Roman people, but their leader. However, you were 
there, and moreover have the speech in your hands. The 
result was that a law meant to please the people was by 
the people's votes rejected. Once more to refer to myself, 
you remember how apparently popular was the law pro- 
posed by Gains Licinius Crassus " about the election to the 


College of Priests" in the consulship of Quintus Maximus, 
Scipio's brother, and Lucius Mancinus. For the power of 
filling up their own vacancies on the part of the colleges 
was by this proposal to be transferred to the people. It was 
this man, by the way, who began the practice of turning 
towards the forum when addressing the people. In spite 
of this, however, upon my speaking on the conservative 
side, religion gained an easy victory over his plausible 
speech. This took place in my praetorship, five years before 
I was elected consul, which shows that the cause was suc- 
cessfully maintained more by the merits of the case than 
by the prestige of the highest office. 

26. Now, if on a stage, such as a public assembly essen- 
tially is, where there is the amplest room for fiction and 
half-truths, truth nevertheless prevails if it be but fairly 
laid open and brought into the light of day, what ought 
to happen in the case of friendship, which rests entirely 
on truthfulness? Friendship, in which, unless you both see 
and show an open breast, to use a common expression, you 
can neither trust nor be certain of anything — no, not even 
of mutual affection, since you cannot be sure of its sin- 
cerity. However, this flattery, injurious as it is, can hurt 
no one but the man who takes it in and likes it. And it fol- 
lows that the man to open his ears widest to flatterers is 
he who first flatters himself and is fondest of himself. I 
grant you that Virtue naturally loves herself ; for she knows 
herself and perceives how worthy of love she is. But I am 
not now speaking of absolute virtue, but of the belief men 
have that they possess virtue. The fact is that fewer peo- 
ple are endowed with virtue than wish to be thought to be 
so. It is such people that take delight in flattery. When 
they are addressed in language expressly adapted to flatter 
their vanity, they look upon such empty persiflage as a tes- 
timony to the truth of their own praises. It is not then 
properly friendship at all when the one will not listen to 
the truth, and the other is prepared to He. Nor would the 
servility of parasites in comedy have seemed humorous to 
us had there been no such things as braggart captains. " Is 
Thais really much obliged to me ? " It would have been 
quite enough to answer "Much," but he must needs say 


"Immensely." Your servile flatterer always exaggerates 
what his victim wishes to be put strongly. Wherefore, 
though it is with those who catch at and invite it that this 
flattering falsehood is especially powerful, yet men even of 
solider and steadier character must be warned to be on 
the watch against being taken in by cunningly disguised 
flattery. An open flatterer any one can detect, unless he is 
an absolute fool : the covert insinuation of the cunning and 
the sly is what we have to be studiously on our guard 
against. His detection is not by any means the easiest thing 
in the world, for he often covers his servility under the 
guise of contradiction, and flatters by pretending to dis- 
pute, and then at last giving in and allowing himself to be 
beaten, that the person hoodwinked may think himself to 
have been the clearer-sighted. Now what can be more de- 
grading than to be thus hoodwinked? You must be on your 
guard against this happening to you, like the man in the 
Heiress : 

How have I been befooled ! no drivelling dotards 

On any stage were e'er so played upon. 

For even on the stage we have no grosser representation 
of folly than that of short-sighted and credulous old men. 
But somehow or other I have strayed away from the 
friendship of the perfect, that is of the "wise" (meaning, 
of course, such "wisdom" as human nature is capable of), 
to the subject of vulgar, unsubstantial friendships. Let 
us then return to our original theme, and at length bring 
that, too, to a conclusion. 

27. Well, then, Fannius and Mucins, I repeat what I said 
before. It is virtue, virtue, which both creates and pre- 
serves friendship. On it depends harmony of interest, per- 
manence, fidelity. When Virtue has reared her head and 
shewn the light of her countenance, and seen and recog- 
nised the same light in another, she gravitates towards it, 
and in her turn welcomes that which the other has to 
shew; and from it springs up a flame which you may call 
love or friendship as you please. Both words are from the 
same root in Latin; and love is just the cleaving to him 
whom you love without the prompting of need or any view 
• to advantage — though this latter blossoms spontaneously on 


friendship, little as you may have looked for it. It is with 
such warmth of feeling that I cherished Lucius Paulus, 
Marcus Cato, Gains Gallus, Publius Nasica, Tiberius 
Gracchus, my dear Scipio's father-in-law. It shines with 
even greater warmth when men are of the same age, as in 
the case of Scipio and Lucius Furius, Publius Rupilius, 
Spurius Mummius, and myself. En revanche, in my old age 
I find comfort in the affection of young men, as in the case 
of yourselves and Quintus Tubero : nay more, I delight in 
the intimacy of such a very young man as Publius Rutilius 
and Aulus Verginius. And since the law of our nature and 
of our life is that a new generation is for ever springing 
up, the most desirable thing is that along with your con- 
temporaries, with whom you started in the race, you may 
also reach what is to us the goal. But in view of the in- 
stability and perishableness of mortal things, we should be 
continually on the look-out for some to love and by whom 
to be loved; for if we lose affection and kindliness from our 
life, we lose all that gives it charm. For me, indeed, though 
torn away by a sudden stroke, Scipio still lives and ever will 
live. For it was the virtue of the man that I loved, and that 
has not suffered death. And it is not my eyes only, because 
I had all my life a personal experience of it, that never lose 
sight of it: it will shine to posterity also with undimmed 
glory. No one will ever cherish a nobler ambition or a 
loftier hope without thinking his memory and his image 
the best to put before his eyes. I declare that of all the 
blessings which either fortune or nature has bestowed upon 
me I know none to compare with Scipio's friendship. In it 
I found sympathy in public, counsel in private business; in 
it too a means of spending my leisure with unalloyed 
delight. Never, to the best of my knowledge, did I offend 
him even in the most trivial point; never did I hear a word 
from him I could have wished unsaid. We had one house, 
one table, one style of living; and not only were we 
together on foreign service, but in our tours also and country 
sojourns. Why speak of our eagerness to be ever gaining 
some knowledge, to be ever learning something, on which 
we spent all our leisure hours far from the gaze of the 
world? If the recollection and memory of these things had 


perished with the man, I could not possibly have endured 
the regret for one so closely united with me in life and 
affection. But these things have not perished; they are 
rather fed and strengthened by reflexion and memory. Even 
supposing me to have been entirely bereft of them, stillmy 
time of life of itself brings me no small consolation: for I 
cannot have much longer now to bear this regret ; and every- 
thing that is brief ought to be endurable, however severe. 

This is all I had to say on friendship. One piece of advice 
on parting. Make up your minds to this. Virtue (without 
which friendship is impossible) is first; but next to it, and 
to it alone, the greatest of all things is Friendship. 




I. And should my service, Titus, ease the weight 

Of care that wrings your heart, and draw the sting 
Which rankles there, what guerdon shall there be? 

OR I may address you, Atticus, in the lines in which 
Flamininus was addressed by the man, 

who, poor in wealth, was rich in honour's gold. 

though I am well assured that you are not, as Flamininus 

kept on the rack of care by night and day. 

For I know how well ordered and equable your mind is, 
and am fully aware that it was not a surname alone which 
you brought home with you from Athens, but its culture and 
good sense. And yet I have an idea that you are at times 
stirred to the heart by the same circumstances as myself. 
To console you for these is a more serious matter, and must 
be put off to another time. For the present I have resolved 
to dedicate to you an essay on Old Age. For from the 
burden of impending or at least advancing age, common 
to us both, I would do something to relieve us both : though 
as to yourself I am fully aware that you support and will 
support it, as you do everything else, with calmness and 
philosophy. But directly I resolved to write on old age, 
you at once occurred to me as deserving a gift of which both 
of us might take advantage. To myself, indeed, the com- 
position of this book has been so delightful, that it has not 
only wiped away all the disagreeables of old age, but has 
even made it luxurious and delightful too. Never, there- 



fore, can philosophy be praised as highly as it deserves, 
considering that its faithful disciple is able to spend every 
period of his life with unruffled feelings. However, on other 
subjects I have spoken at large, and shall often speak again: 
this book which I herewith send you is on Old Age. I 
have put the whole discourse not, as Alisto of Cos did, 
in the mouth of Tithonus — for a mere fable would have 
lacked conviction — but in that of Marcus Cato when he 
was an old man, to give my essay greater weight. I repre- 
sent Laelius and Scipio at his house expressing surprise 
at his carrying his years so lightly, and Cato answering 
them. If he shall seem to shew somewhat more learning 
in this discourse than he generally did in his own books, 
put it down to the Greek literature of which it is known that 
he became an eager student in his old age. But what need 
of more? Cato's own words will at once explain all I feel 
about old age. 

M. Cato. Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus (the 
younger). Gaius Laelius. 

2. Scipio. Many a time have I in conversation with my 
friend Gaius Laelius here expressed my admiration, Marcus 
Cato, of the eminent, nay perfect, wisdom displayed by you 
indeed at all points, but above everything because I have 
noticed that old age never seemed a burden to you, while 
to most old men it is so hateful that they declare themselves 
under a weight heavier than Aetna. 

Cato. Your admiration is easily excited, it seems, my 
dear Scipio and Laelius. Men, of course, who have no 
resources in themselves for securing a good and happy life 
find every age burdensome. But those who look for all 
happiness from within can never think anything bad which 
nature makes inevitable. In that category before anything 
else comes old age, to which all wish to attain, and at which 
all grumble when attained. Such is Folly's inconsistency 
and unreasonableness! They say that it is stealing upon 
them faster than they expected. In the first place, who com- 
pelled them to hug an illusion ? For in what respect did old 
age steal upon manhood faster than manhood upon child- 


hood? In the next place, in what way would old age have 
been less disagreeable to them if they were in their eight- 
hundredth year than in their eightieth? For their past, 
however long, when once it was past, would have no con- 
solation for a stupid old age. Wherefore, if it is your wont 
to admire my wisdom — and I would that it were worthy of 
your good opinion and of my own surname of Sapiens — it 
really consists in the fact that I follow Nature, the best of 
guides, as I would a god, and am loyal to her commands. 
It is not likely, if she has written the rest of the play well, 
that she has been careless about the last act like some idle 
poet. But after all some "last" was inevitable, just as to 
the berries of a tree and the fruits of the earth there comes 
in the fulness of time a period of decay and fall. A wise 
man will not make a grievance of this. To rebel against 
nature — is not that to fight like the giants with the gods? 

Laelius. And yet, Cato, you will do us a very great favour 
(I venture to speak for Scipio as for myself) if — since we 
all hope, or at least wish, to become old men — you would 
allow us to learn from you in good time before it arrives, 
by what methods we may most easily acquire the strength 
to support the burden of advancing age. 

Cato. I will do so without doubt, Laelius, especially if, as 
you say, it will be agreeable to you both. 

Laelius. We do wish very much, Cato, if it is no trouble 
to you, to be allowed to see the nature of the bourne which 
you have reached after completing a long journey, as it were, 
upon which we too are bound to embark. 

3. Cato. I will do the best I can, Laelius. It has often 
been my fortune to hear the complaints of my contempo- 
raries — like will to like, you know, according to the old 
proverb — complaints to which men like C. Salinator and Sp. 
Albinus, who were of consular rank and about my time, 
used to give vent. They were, first, that they had lost the 
pleasures of the senses, without which they did not regard 
life as life at all; and, secondly, that they were neglected 
by those from whom they had been used to receive attentions. 
Such men appear to me to lay the blame on the wrong 
thing. For if it had been the fault of old age, then these 
same misfortunes would have befallen me and all other 


men of advanced years. But I have known many of them 
who never said a word of complaint against old age; for 
they were only too glad to be freed from the bondage of pas- 
sion, and were not at all looked down upon by their friends. 
The fact is that the blame for all complaints of that kind 
is to be charged to character, not to a particular time of life. 
For old men who are reasonable and neither cross-grained 
nor churlish find old age tolerable enough : whereas unreason 
and churlishness cause uneasiness at every time of life. 

Laelius. It is as you say, Cato. But perhaps some one 
may suggest that it is your large means, wealth, and high 
position that make you think old a^'e tolerable: whereas 
such good fortune only falls to few. ',i 

Cato. There is something in that, Laelius, but by no 
means all. For instance, the story is told of the answer 
of Themistocles in a wrangle with a certain Seriphian, who 
asserted that he owed his brilliant position to the reputation 
of his country, not to his own. " If I had been a Seri- 
phian," said he, " even I should never have been famous, 
nor would you if you had been an Athenian. Something 
like this may be said of old age. For the philosopher him- 
self could not find old age easy to bear in the depths of 
poverty, nor the fool feel it anything but a burden though 
he were a millionaire. You may be sure, my dear Scipio 
and Laelius, that the arms best adapted to old age are cul- 
ture and the active exercise of the virtues. For if they 
have been maintained at every ijeriod — if one has lived much 
as well as long — the harvest they, produce is wonderful, not 
only because they never fail us even in our last days 
(though that in itself is supremely important), but also 
because the consciousness of a well-spent life and the recol- 
lection of many virtuous actions are exceedingly delightful. 

4. Take the case of Q. Fabius Maximus, the man, I mean, 
who recovered Tarentum. When I was a young man and 
he an old one, I was as much attached to him as if he 
had been my contemporary. For that great man's serious 
dignity was tempered by courteous manners, nor had old 
age made any change in his character. True, he was not 
exajctly an old man when my devotion to him began, yet 
he was nevertheless well on in life; for his first consulship 


fell in the year after my birth. When quite a stripling I 
went with him in his fourth consulship as a soldier in the 
ranks, on the expedition against Capua, and in the fifth 
year after that against Tarentum. Four years after that 
I was elected Quaestor, holding office in the consulship of 
Tuditanus and Cethegus, in which year, indeed, he as a 
very old man spoke in favour of the Cincian law " on gifts 
and fees." 

Now this man conducted wars with all the spirit of youth 
when he was far advanced in life, and by his persistence 
gradually wearied out Hannibal, when rioting in all the 
confidence of youth.** How brilliant are those lines of my 
friend Ennius on h n! 

For us, down beaten by the storms of fate, 

One man by wise delays restored the State. 

Praise or dispraise moved not his constant mood. 

True to his purpose, to his country's good ! 

Down ever-lengthening avenues of fame 

Thus shines and shall shine still his glorious name. 

Again what vigilance, what profound skill did he show in 
the capture of Tarentum ! It was indeed in my hearing 
that he made the famous retort to Salinator, who had re- 
treated into the citadel after losing the town : " It was 
owing to me, Quintus Fabius, that you retook Tarentum." 
" Quite so," he replied with a laugh ; " for had you not lost 
it, I should never have recovered it." Nor was he less emi- 
nent in civil life than in ^iar. In his second consulship, 
though his colleague would not move in the matter, he 
resisted as long as he could the proposal of the tribune C. 
Flaminius to divide the territory of the Picenians and 
Gauls in free allotments in defiance of a resolution of the 
Senate. Again, though he was an augur, he ventured to 
say that whatever was done in the interests of the State 
was done with the best possible auspices, that any laws pro- 
posed against its interest were proposed against the auspices. 
I was cognisant of much that was admirable in that great 
man, but nothing struck me with greater astonishment thao 
the way in which he bore the death of his son — a man 
of brilliant character and who had been consul. His funeral 
speech over him is in wide circulation, and when we read 


it, is there any philosopher of whom we do not think meanly ? 
Nor in truth was he only great in the light of day and in 
the sight of his fellow-citizens; he was still more eminent in 
private and at home. What a wealth of conversation! 
What weighty maxims ! What a wide acquaintance with 
ancient history ! What an accurate knowledge of the science 
of augury! For a Roman, too, he had a great tincture of 
letters. He had a tenacious memory for military history 
of every sort, whether of Roman or foreign wars. And I 
used at that time to enjoy his conversation with a passionate 
eagerness, as though I already divined, what actually turned 
out to be the case, that when he died there would be no 
one to teach me anything, 

5. What then is the purpose of such a long disquisition 
on Maximus? It is because you now see that an old age 
like his cannot conscientiously be called unhappy. Yet it is 
after all true that everybody cannot be a Scipio or a Maxi- 
mus, with stormings of cities, with battles by land and 
sea, with wars in which they themselves commanded, and 
with triumphs to recall. Besides this there is a quiet, pure, 
and cultivated life which produces a calm and gentle old 
age, such as we have been told Plato's was, who died at his 
writing-desk in his eighty-first year; or like that of Isoc- 
rates, who says that he wrote the book called The Panegyric 
in his ninety-fourth year, and who lived for five years after- 
wards; while his master Gorgias of Leontini completed a 
hundred and seven years without ever relaxing his diligence 
or giving up work. When some one asked him why he 
consented to remain so long alive — " I have no fault," said 
he, "to find with old age." That was a noble answer, and 
worthy of a scholar. For fools impute their own frailties 
and guilt to old age, contrary to the practice of Ennius, 
whom I mentioned just now. In the lines — 

Like some brave steed that oft before 
The Olympic wreath of victory bore, 
Now by the weight of years oppressed, 
Forgets the race, and takes his rest — 

he compares his own old age to that of a high-spirited 
and successful race-horse. And him indeed you may very 


well remember. For the present consuls Titus Flamininus 
and Manius Acilius were elected in the nineteenth year after 
his death ; and his death occurred in the consulship of Caepio 
and Philippus, the latter consul for the second time: in 
which year I, then sixty-six years old, spoke in favour of 
the Voconian law in a voice that was still strong and with 
lungs still sound; while he, though seventy years old, sup- 
ported two burdens considered the heaviest of all — poverty 
and old age — in such a way as to be all but fond of them. 

The fact is that when I come to think it over, I find that 
there are four reasons for old age being thought unhappy: 
First, that it withdraws us from active employments ; second, 
that it enfeebles the body ; third, that it deprives us of nearly 
all physical pleasures; fourth, that it is the next step to 
death. Of each of these reasons, if you will allow me, let 
us examine the force and justice separately. 

6. Old age withdraws us from active employments. 
From which of them? Do you mean from those carried 
on by youth and bodily strength? Are there then no old 
men's employments to be after all conducted by the intellect, 
even when bodies are weak? So then Q. Maximus did 
nothing; nor L. Aemilius — your father, Scipio, and my ex- 
cellent son's father-in-law ! So with other old men — the 
Fabricii, the Curii and Coruncanii — when they were sup- 
porting the State by their advice and influence, they were 
doing nothing! To old age Appius Claudius had the addi- 
tional disadvantage of being blind ; yet it was he who, when 
the Senate was inclining towards a peace with Pyrrhus 
and was for making a treaty, did not hesitate to say what 
Ennius has embalmed in the verses: 

Whither have swerved the souls so firm of yore? 
Is sense grown senseless ? Can feet stand no more ? 

And so on in a tone of the most passionate vehemence. You 
know the poem, and the speech of Appius himself is extant. 
Now, he delivered it seventeen years after his second con- 
sulship, there having been an interval of ten years between 
the two consulships, and he having been censor before his 
previous consulship. This will show you that at the time 


of the war with Pyrrhus he was a very old man. Yet this 
is the story handed down to us. 

There is therefore nothing in the arguments of those who 
say that old age takes no part in public business. They are 
like men who would say that a steersman does nothing in 
sailing a ship, because, while some of the crew are climbing 
the masts, others hurrying up and down the gangways, 
others pumping out the bilge water, he sits quietly in the 
stern holding the tiller. He does not do what young men 
do; nevertheless he does what is much more important and 
better. The great affairs of life are not performed by 
physical strength, or activity, or nimbleness of body, but by 
deliberation, character, expression of opinion. Of these old 
age is not only not deprived, but, as a rule, has them in 
a greater degree. Unless by any chance I, who as a soldier 
in the ranks, as military tribune, as legate, and as consul 
have been employed in various kinds of war, now appear to 
you to be idle because not actively engaged in war. But I 
enjoin upon the Senate what is to be done, and how. Car- 
thage has long been harbouring evil designs, and I accord- 
ingly proclaim war against her in good time. I shall never 
cease to entertain fears about her till I hear of her having 
been levelled with the ground. The glory of doing that I 
pray that the immortal gods may reserve for you, Scipio, 
so that you may complete the task begun by your grand- 
father, now dead more than thirty-two years ago ; though all 
years to come will keep that great man's memory green. 
He died in the year before my censorship, nine years after 
my consulship, having been returned consul for the second 
time in my own consulship. If then he had lived to his 
hundredth year, would he have regretted having lived to 
be old? For he would of course not have been practising 
rapid marches, nor dashing on a foe, nor hurling spears 
from a distance, nor using swords at close quarters — but only 
counsel, reason, and senatorial eloquence. And if those qual- 
ities had not resided in us seniors, our ancestors would 
never have called their supreme council a Senate. At 
Sparta, indeed, those who hold the highest magistracies are 
in accordance with the fact actually called " elders." But 
if you will take the trouble to read or listen to foreign 


history, you will find that the mightiest States have been 
brought into peril by young men, have been supported and 
restored by old. The question occurs in the poet Naevius's 

Pray, who are those who brought your State 

With such despatch to meet its fate ? 

There is a long answer, but this is the chief point: 

A crop of brand-new orators we grew. 

And foolish, paltry lads who thought they knew. 

For of course rashness is the note of youth, prudence of 
old age. 

7, But, it is said, memory dwindles. No doubt, unless you 
keep it in practice, or if you happen to be somewhat dull by 
nature. Themistocles had the names of all his fellow- 
citizens by heart. Do you imagine that in his old age he 
used to address Aristides as Lysimachus? For my part, I 
know not only the present generation, but their fathers also, 
and their grandfathers. Nor have I any fear of losing my 
memory by reading tombstones, according to the vulgar 
superstition. On the contrary, by reading them I renew 
my memory of those who are dead and gone. Nor, in point 
of fact, have I ever heard of any old man forgetting where 
he had hidden his money. They remember everything that 
interests them: when to answer to their bail, business ap- 
pointments, who owes them money, and to whom they owe 
it. What about lawyers, pontiffs, augurs, philosophers, 
when old ? What a multitude of things they remember ! 
Old men retain their intellects well enough, if only they 
keep their minds active and fully employed. Nor is that 
the case only with men of high position and great office: 
it applies equally to private life and peaceful pursuits. 
Sophocles composed tragedies to extreme old age; and being 
believed to neglect the care of his property owing to his 
devotion to his art, his sons brought him into court to get 
a judicial decision depriving him of the management of 
his property on the ground of weak intellect — just as in 
our law it is customary to deprive a paterfamilias of the 
management of his property if he is squandering it. There- 
upon the old poet is said to have read to the judges the 


play he had on hand and had just composed — the Oedipus 
Coloneus — and to have asked them whether they thought 
that the work of a man of weak intellect. After the read- 
ing he was acquitted by the jury. Did old age then com- 
pel this man to become silent in his particular art, or 
Homer, Hesiod, Simonides, or Isocrates and Gorgias 
whom I mentioned before, or the founders of schools of 
philosophy, Pythagoras, Democritus, Plato, Xenocrates, or 
later Zeno and Cleanthus, or Diogenes the Stoic, whom 
you too saw at Rome? Is it not rather the case with all 
these that the active pursuit of study only ended with life? 
But, to pass over these sublime studies, I can name some 
rustic Romans from the Sabine district, neighbours and 
friends of my own, without whose presence farm work of 
importance is scarcely ever performed — whether sowing, or 
harvesting or storing crops. And yet in other things this 
is less surprising; for no one is so old as to think that he 
may not live a year. But they bestow their labour on what 
they know does not affect them in any case: 

He plants his trees to serve a race to come, 

as our poet Statins says in his Comrades. Nor indeed 
would a farmer, however old, hesitate to answer any one 
who asked him for whom he was planting: "For the im- 
mortal gods, whose will it was that I should not merely 
receive these things from my ancestors, but should also hand 
them on to the next generation." 

8. That remark about the old man is better tha« the fol- 

If age brought nothing worse than this. 

It were enough to mar our bliss, 

That he who bides for many years 

Sees much to shun and much for tears. 

Yes, and perhaps much that gives him pleasure too. Be- 
sides, as to subjects for tears, he often comes upon them 
in youth as well. 
A still more questionable sentiment in the same CaeciUus 


No greater misery can of age be told 

Than this : be sure, the young dislike the old. 


Delight in them is nearer the mark than dislike. For 
just as old men, if they are wise, take pleasure in the 
society of young men of good parts, and as old age is ren- 
dered less dreary for those who are courted and liked by the 
youth, so also do young men find pleasure in the maxims 
of the old, by which they are drawn to the pursuit of ex- 
cellence. Nor do I perceive that you find my society less 
pleasant than I do yours. But this is enough to show you 
how, so far from being listless and sluggish, old age is 
even a busy time, always doing and attempting something, 
of course of the same nature as each man's taste had been 
in the previous part of his life. Nay, do not some even add 
to their stock of learning? We see Solon, for instance, 
boasting in his poems that he grows old "daily learning 
something new." Or again in my own case, it was only 
when an old man that I became acquainted with Greek 
literature, which in fact I absorbed with such avidity — in 
my yearning to quench, as it were, a long-continued thirst 
— that I became acquainted with the very facts which you 
see me now using as precedents. When I heard what 
Socrates had done about the lyre I should have liked for 
my part to have done that too, for the ancients used to 
learn the lyre but, at any rate, I worked hard at literature. 

9. Nor, again, do I now miss the bodily strength of 
A YOUNG MAN (for that was the second point as to the dis- 
advantages of old age) any more than as a young man I 
missed the strength of a bull or an elephant. You should 
use what you have, and whatever you may chance to be 
doing, do it with all your might. What could be weaker 
than Milo of Croton's exclamation? When in his old age he 
was watching some athletes practising in the course, he is 
said to have looked at his arms and to have exclaimed with 
tears in his eyes : "Ah well ! these are now as good as dead." 
Not a bit more so than yourself, you trifler ! For at no 
time were you made famous by your real self, but by chest 
and biceps. Sext. Aelius never gave vent to such a re- 
mark, nor, many years before him, Titus Coruncanius, nor, 
more recently, P. Crassus — all of them learned juris-consults 
in active practice, whose knowledge of their profession was 
maintained to their last breath. I am afraid an orator does 


lose vigour by old age, for his art is not a matter of the 
intellect alone, but of lungs and bodily strength. Though 
as a rule that musical ring in the voice even gains in bril- 
liance in a certain way as one grows old — certainly I have 
not yet lost it, and you see my years. Yet after all the 
style of speech suitable to an old man is the quiet and 
unemotional, and it often happens that the chastened and 
calm delivery of an old man eloquent secures a hearing. If 
you cannot attain to that yourself, you might still instruct 
a Scipio and a Laelius. For what is more charming than 
old age surrounded by the enthusiasm of youth? Shall we 
not allow old age even the strength to teach the young, to 
train and equip them for all the duties of life? And what 
can be a nobler employment? For my part, I used to think 
Publius and Gnaeus Scipio and your two grandfathers, L. 
Aemilius and P. Africanus, fortunate men when I saw them 
with a company of young nobles about them. Nor should 
we think any teachers of the fine arts otherwise than happy, 
however much their bodily forces may have decayed and 
failed. And yet that same failure of the bodily forces is 
more often brought about by the vices of youth than of old 
age; for a dissolute and intemperate youth hands down the 
body to old age in a worn-out state. Xenophon's Cyrus, for 
instance, in his discourse delivered on his death-bed and at 
a very advanced age, says that he never perceived his old 
age to have become weaker than his youth had been. I 
remember as a boy Lucius Metellus, who having been cre- 
ated Pontifex Maximus four years after his second consul- 
ship, held that office twenty-two years, enjoying such ex- 
cellent strength of body in the very last hours of his life 
as not to miss his youth. I need not speak of myself; 
though that indeed is an old man's way and is generally 
allowed to my time of life. Don't you see in Homer how 
frequently Nestor talks of his own good qualities ? For he was 
living through a third generation; nor had he any reason 
to fear that upon saying what was true about himself he 
should appear either over vain or talkative. For, as Homer 
says, " from his lips flowed discourse sweeter than honey," 
for which sweet breath he wanted no bodily strength. 
And yet, after all, the famous leader of the Greeks nowhere 


wishes to have ten men Hke Ajax, but like Nestor: if he 
could get them, he feels no doubt of Troy shortly falling. 

10. But to return to my own case: I am in my eighty- 
fourth year. I could wish that I had been able to make the 
same boast as Cyrus; but, after all, I can say this: I am not 
indeed as vigorous as I was as a private soldier in the 
Punic war, or as quaestor in the same war, or as consul in 
Spain, and four years later when as a military tribune I 
took part in the engagement at Thermopylae under the con- 
sul Manius Acilius Glabrio; but yet, as you see, old age has 
not entirely destroyed my muscles, has not quite brought me 
to the ground. The Senate-house does not find all my vigour 
gone, nor the rostra, nor my friends, nor my clients, nor 
my foreign guests. For I have never given in to that ancient 
and much-praised proverb: 

Old when young 
Is old for long. 

For myself, I had rather be an old man a somewhat shorter 
time than an old man before my time. Accordingly, no one 
up to the present has wished to see me, to whom I have been 
denied as engaged. But, it may be said, I have less strength 
than either of you. Neither have you the strength of the 
centurion T. Pontius: is he the more eminent man on that 
account? Let there be only a proper husbanding of 
strength, and let each man proportion his efforts to his 
powers. Such an one will assuredly not be possessed with 
any great regret for his loss of strength. At Olympia Milo 
is said to have stepped into the course carrying a live ox 
on his shoulders. Which then of the two would you prefer 
to have given to you — bodily strength like that, or intel- 
lectual strength like that of Pythagoras? In fine, enjoy that 
blessing when you have it; when it is gone, don't wish it 
back — unless we are to think that young men should wish 
their childhood back, and those somewhat older their youth ! 
The course of life is fixed, and nature admits of its being 
run but in one way, and only once; and to each part of 
our life there is something specially seasonable; so that 
the feebleness of children, as well as the high spirit of youth, 
the soberness of maturer years, and the ripe wisdom of old 


age — all have a certain natural advantage which should be 
secured in its proper season. I think you are informed, 
Scipio, what your grandfather's foreign friend Masinissa does 
to this day, though ninety years old. When he has once 
begun a journey on foot he does not mount his horse at 
all ; when on horseback he never gets off his horse. By no 
rain or cold can he be induced to cover his head. His body 
is absolutely free from unhealthy humours, and so he still 
performs all the duties and functions of a king. Active 
exercise, therefore, and temperance can preserve some part 
of one's former strength even in old age. 

II. Bodily strength is wanting to old age; but neither is 
bodily strength demanded from old men. Therefore, both 
by law and custom, men of my time of life are exempt from 
those duties which cannot be supported without bodily 
strength. Accordingly not only are we not forced to do what 
we cannot do; we are not even obliged to do as much as we 
can. But, it will be said, many old men are so feeble that 
they cannot perform any duty in life of any sort or kind. 
That is not a weakness to be set do\yn as peculiar to old age : 
it is one shared by ill health. How feeble was the son of 
P. Africanus, who adopted you ! What weak health he had, 
or rather no health at all ! If that had not been the case, 
we should have had in him a second brilliant light in the 
political horizon ; for he had added a wider cultivation to his 
father's greatness of spirit. What wonder, then, that old 
men are eventually feeble, when even young men cannot 
escape it? My dear Laelius and Scipio, we must stand up 
against old age and make up for its drawbacks by taking 
pains. We must fight it as we should an illness. We must 
look after our health, use moderate exercise, take just 
enough food and drink to recruit, but not to overload, our 
strength. Nor is it the body alone that must be supported, 
but the intellect and soul much more. For they are like 
lamps: unless you feed them with oil, they too go out from 
old age. Again, the body is apt to get gross from exercise; 
but the intellect becomes nimbler by exercising itself. 
For what Caecilius means by " old dotards of the comic 
stage " are the credulous, the forgetful, and the slipshod. 
These are faults that do ;iot attach to old age as such, but to 


a sluggish, spiritless, and sleepy old age. Young men are 
more frequently wanton and dissolute than old men ; but yet, 
as it is not all young men that are so, but the bad set among 
them, even so senile folly — usually called imbecility — applies 
to old men of unsound character, not to all. Appius gov- 
erned four sturdy sons, five daughters, that great estab- 
lishment, and all those clients, though he was both old and 
blind. For he kept his mind at full stretch like a bow, and 
never gave in to old age by growing slack. He maintained 
not merely an influence, but an absolute command over his 
family: his slaves feared him, his sons were in awe of him, 
all loved him. In that family, indeed, ancestral custom and 
discipline were in full vigour. The fact is that old age is 
respectable just as long as it asserts itself, maintains its 
proper rights, and is not enslaved to any one. For as I 
admire a young man who has something of the old man in 
him, so do I an old one who has something of a young man. 
The man who aims at this may possibly become old in body — 
in mind he never will. I am now engaged in composing the 
seventh book of my Origins. I collect all the records of 
antiquity. The speeches delivered in all the celebrated cases 
which I have defended I am at this particular time getting 
into shape for publication. I am writing treatises on aug- 
ural, pontifical, and civil law. I am, besides, studying hard 
at Greek, and after the manner of the Pythagoreans — to 
keep my memory in working order — I repeat in the evening 
whatever I have said, heard, or done in the course of each 
day. These are the exercises of the intellect, these the 
training grounds of the mind : while I sweat and labour on 
these I don't much feel the loss of bodily strength. I appear 
in court for my friends; I frequently attend the Senate 
and bring motions before it on my own responsibility, pre- 
pared after deep and long reflection. And these I support 
by my intellectual, not my bodily forces. And if I were not 
strong enough to do these things, yet I should enjoy my 
sofa — imagining the very operations which I was now un- 
able to perform. But what makes me capable of doing this 
is my past life. For a man who is always living in the midst 
of these studies and labours does not perceive when old age 
creeps upon him. Thus, by slow and imperceptible degrees 


life draws to its end. There is no sudden breakage; it 
just slowly goes out. 

12, The third charge against old age is that it lacks sen- 
sual PLEASURES. What a splendid service does old age 
render, if it takes from us the greatest blot of youth ! Listen, 
my dear young friends, to a speech of Archytas of Taren- 
tum, among the greatest and most illustrious of men, which 
was put into my hands when as a young man I was at 
Tarentum with Q. Maximus. " No more deadly curse than 
sensual pleasure has been inflicted on mankind by nature, 
to gratify which our wanton appetites are roused beyond all 
prudence or restraint. It is a fruitful source of treasons, 
revolutions, secret communications with' the enemy. In 
fact, there is no crime, no evil deed, to which the appetite 
for sensual pleasures does not impel us. Fornications and 
adulteries, and every abomination of that kind, are brought 
about by the enticements of pleasure and by them alone. 
Intellect is the best gift of nature or God: to this divine 
gift and endowment there is nothing so inimical as pleasure. 
For when appetite is our master, there is no place for self- 
control; nor where pleasure reigns supreme can virtue hold 
its ground. To see this more vividly, imagine a man excited 
to the highest conceivable pitch of sensual pleasure. It can 
be doubtful to no one that such a person, so long as he is 
under the influence of such excitation of the senses, will be 
unable to use to any purpose .either intellect, reason, or 
thought. Therefore nothing can be so execrable and so 
fatal as pleasure; since, when more than ordinarily violent 
and lasting, it darkens all the light of the soul," 

These were the words addressed by Archytas to the Sam- 
nite Caius Pontius, father of the man by whom the consuls 
Spurius Postumius and Titus Veturius were beaten in the 
battle of Caudium. My friend Nearchus of Tarentum, who 
had remained loyal to Rome, told me that he had heard them 
repeated by some old men ; and that Plato the Athenian was 
present, who visited Tarentum, I find, in the consulship of L. 
Camillus and Appius Claudius. 

What is the point of all this? It is to show you that, if 
we were unable to scorn pleasure by the aid of reason and 
philosophy, we ought to have been very grateful to old age 


for depriving us of all inclination for that which it was 
wrong to do. For pleasure hinders thought, is a foe lo 
reason, and, so to speak, blinds the eyes of the mind. It is, 
moreover, entirely alien to virtue. I was sorry to have to 
expel Lucius, brother of the gallant Titus Flamininus, from 
the Senate seven years after his consulship; but I thought 
it imperative to affix a stigma on an act of gross sensuality. 
For when he was in Gaul as consul, he had yielded to the 
entreaties of his paramour at a dinner-party to behead a 
man who happened to be in prison condemned on a capital 
charge. When his brother Titus was Censor, who preceded 
me, he escaped; but I and Flaccus could not countenance 
an act of such criminal and abandoned lust, especially as, 
besides the personal dishonour, it brought disgrace on the 

13. I have often been told by men older than myself, who 
said that they had heard it as boys from old men, that 
Gains Fabricius was in the habit of expressing astonishment 
at having heard, when envoy at the headquarters of king 
Pyrrhus, from the Thessalian Cineas, that there was a man 
of Athens who professed to be a " philosopher," and af- 
firmed that everything we did was to be referred to pleasure. 
When he told this to Manius Curius and Publius Decius, 
they used to remark that they wished that the Samnites and 
Pyrrhus himself would hold the same opinion. It would be 
much easier to conquer them, if they had once given them- 
selves over to sensual indulgences. Manius Curius had been 
intimate with P. Decius, who four years before the former's 
consulship had devoted himself to death for the Republic. 
Both Fabricius and Coruncanius knew him also, and from the 
experience of their own lives, as well as from the action of 
P. Decius, they were of opinion that there did exist some- 
thing intrinsically noble and great, which was sought for 
its own sake, and at which all the best men aimed, to the 
contempt and neglect of pleasure. Why then do I spend 
so many words on the subject of pleasure? Why, because, 
far from being a charge against old age, that it does 
not much feel the want of any pleasures, it is its highest 

But, you will say, it is deprived of the pleasures of the 


table, the heaped up board, the rapid passing of the wine- 
cup. Well, then, it is also free from headache, disordered 
digestion, broken sleep. But if we must grant pleasure 
something, since we do not find it easy to resist its charms, — 
for Plato, with happy inspiration, calls pleasure " vice's 
bait," because of course men are caught by it as fish by a 
hook, — yet, although old age has to abstain from extrav- 
agant banquets, it is still capable of enjoying modest festiv- 
ities. As a boy I often used to see Gains Duilius the son 
of Marcus, then an old man, returning from a dinner-party. 
He thoroughly enjoyed the frequent use of torch and flute- 
player, distinctions which he had assumed though unpre- 
cedented in the case of a private person. It was the 
privilege of his glory. But why mention others? I will 
come back to my own case. To begin with, I have always 
remained a member of a " club " — clubs, you know, were 
established in my quaestorship on the reception of the Magna 
Mater from Ida. So I used to dine at their feast with the 
members of my club — on the whole with moderation, though 
there was a certain warmth of temperament natural to my 
time of life; but as that advances there is a daily decrease 
of all excitement. Nor was I, in fact, ever wont to measure 
my enjoyment even of these banquets by the physical 
pleasures they gave more than by the gathering and con- 
versation of friends. For it was a good idea of our ancestors 
to style the presence of guests at a dinner-table — seeing that 
it implied a communityof enjoyment — a convivium, " a liv- 
ing together." It is a better term than the Greek words 
which mean "a drinking together," or, "an eating together." 
For they would seem to give the preference to what is really 
the least important part of it. 

14. For myself, owing to the pleasure I take in conver- 
sation, I enjoy even banquets that begin early in the after- 
noon, and not only in company with my contemporaries — 
of whom very few survive — but also with men of your age 
and with yourselves. I am thankful to old age, which has 
increased my avidity for conversation, while it has removed 
that for eating and drinking. But if anyone does enjoy 
these — not to seem to have proclaimed war against all pleas- 
ure without exception, which is perhaps a feeling inspired 


by nature — I fail to perceive even in these very pleasures 
that old age is entirely without the power of appreciation. 
For myself, I take delight even in the old-fashioned appoint- 
ment of master of the feast ; and in the arrangement of the 
conversation, which according to ancestral custom is begun 
from the last place on the left-hand couch when the wine is 
brought in; as also in the cups which, as in Xenophon's 
banquet, are small and filled by driblets; and in the con- 
trivance for cooling in summer, and for warming by the 
winter sun or winter fire. These things I keep up even 
among my Sabine countrymen, and every day have a full 
dinner-party of neighbours, which we prolong as far into 
the night as we can with varied conversation. 

But you may urge — there is not the same tingling sensa- 
tion of pleasure in old men. No doubt; but neither do they 
miss it so much. For nothing gives you uneasiness which 
you do not miss. That was a fine answer of Sophocles to a 
man who asked him, when in extreme old age, whether he was 
still a lover. "Heaven forbid !" he replied ; " I was only too 
glad to escape from that, as though from a boorish and in- 
sane master." To men indeed who are keen after such 
things it may possibly appear disagreeable and uncomfort- 
able to be without them; but to jaded appetites it is pleas- 
anter to lack than to enjoy. However, he cannot be said 
to lack who does not want: my contention is that not to 
want is the pleasanter thing. 

But even granting that youth enjoys these pleasures with 
more zest; in the first place, they are insignificant 
things to enjoy, as I have said; and in the second 
place, such as age is not entirely without, if it does 
not possess them in profusion. Just as a man gets 
greater pleasure from Ambivius Turpio if seated in the 
front row at the theatre than if he was in the last, yet, after 
all, the man in the last row does get pleasure; so youth, be- 
cause it looks at pleasures at closer quarters, perhaps enjoys 
itself more, yet even old age, looking at them from a dis- 
tance, does enjoy itself well enough. Why, what blessings 
are these — that the soul, having served its time, so to speak, 
in the campaigns of desire and ambition, rivalry and hatred, 
and all the passions, should live in its own thoughts, and, 


as the expression goes, should dwell apart! Indeed, if it 
has in store any of what I may call the food of stvidy and 
philosophy, nothing can be pleasanter than an old age of 
leisure. We were witnesses to C. Gallus — a friend of your 
father's, Scipio — intent to the day of his death on mapping 
out the sky and land. How often did the light surprise 
him while still working out a problem begun during the 
night ! How often did night find him busy on what he had 
begun at dawn ! How he delighted in predicting for us 
solar and lunar eclipses long before they occurred ! Or 
again in studies of a lighter nature, though still requiring 
keenness of intellect, what pleasure Naevius took in his 
Punic War! Plautus in his Truculentus and Pseudohisf I 
even saw Livius Andronicus, who, having produced a play 
six years before I was born — in the consulship of Cento and 
Tuditanus — lived till I had become a young man. Why 
speak of Publius Licinius Crassus's devotion to pontifical 
and civil law, or of the Publius Scipio of the present time, 
who within these last few days has been created Pontifex 
Maximus ? And yet I have seen all whom I have mentioned 
ardent in these pursuits when old men. Then there is Marcus 
Cethegus, whom Ennius justly called "Persuasion's Mar- 
row " — with what enthusiasm did we see him exert himself 
in oratory even when quite old! What pleasures are there 
in feasts, games, or mistresses comparable to pleasures such 
as these? And they are all tastes, too, connected with learn- 
ing, which in men of sense and good education grow with 
their growth. It is indeed an honourable sentiment which 
Solon expresses in a verse which I have quoted before — 
that he grew old learning many a fresh lesson every day. 
Than that intellectual pleasure none certainly can be greater. 
15. I come now to the pleasures of the farmer, in which 
I take amazing delight. These are not hindered by any 
extent of old age, and seem to me to approach nearest to 
the ideal wise man's life. For he has to deal with the earth, 
which never refuses its obedience, nor ever returns what it 
has received without usury; sometimes, indeed, with less, 
but generally with greater interest. For my part, however, 
it is not merely the thing produced, but the earth's own force 
and natural productiveness that delight me. For having 


received in its bosom the seed scattered broadcast upon it, 
softened and broken up, she first keeps it concealed therein 
(hence the harrowing which accomplishes this gets its name 
from a word meaning "to hide") ; next, when it has been 
warmed by her heat and close pressure, she splits it open 
and draws from it the greenery of the blade. This, sup- 
ported by the fibres of the root, little by little grows up, and 
held upright by its jointed stalk is enclosed in sheaths, as 
being still immature. When it has emerged from them it 
produces an ear of corn arranged in order, and is defended 
against the pecking of the smaller birds by a regular pali- 
sade of spikes. 

Need I mention the starting, planting, and growth of 
vines? I can never have too much of this pleasure — to let 
you into the secret of what gives my old age repose and 
amusement. For I say nothing here of the natural force 
which all things propagated from the earth possess — the 
earth which from that tiny grain in a fig, or the grape- 
stone in a grape, or the most minute seeds of the other 
cereals and plants, produces such huge trunks and boughs. 
Mallet-shoots, slips, cuttings, quicksets, layers — are they not 
enough to fill anyone with delight and astonishment? The 
vine by nature is apt to fall, and unless supported drops 
down to the earth; yet in order to keep itself upright it 
embraces whatever it reaches with its tendrils as though 
they were hands. Then as it creeps on, spreading itself in 
intricate and wild profusion, the dresser's art prunes it with 
the knife and prevents it growing a forest of shoots and 
expanding to excess in every direction. Accordingly at the 
beginning of spring in the shoots which have been left there 
protrudes at each of the joints what is termed an " eye." 
From this the grape emerges and shows itself; which, 
swollen by the juice of the earth and the heat of the sun, 
is at first very bitter to the taste, but afterwards grows sweet 
as it matures ; and being covered with tendrils is never with- 
out a moderate warmth, and yet is able to ward off the 
fiery heat of the sun. Can anything be richer in product 
or more beautiful to contemplate? It is not its utility only, 
as I said before, that charms me, but the method of its 
cultivation and the natural process of its growth: the rows 

3 — HC IX 


of uprights, the cross-pieces for the tops of the plants, the 
tying up of the vines and their propagation by layers, the 
pruning, to which I have already referred, of some shoots, 
the setting of others. I need hardly mention irrigation, or 
trenching and digging the soil, which much increase Its 
fertility. As to the advantages of manuring I have spoken 
in my book on agriculture. The learned Hesiod did not say 
a single word on this subject, though he was writing on the 
cultivation of the soil; yet Homer, who in my opinion was 
many generations earlier, represents Laertes as softening his 
regret for his son by cultivating and manuring his farm. 
Nor is it only in cornfields and meadows and vineyards and 
plantations that a farmer's life is made cheerful. There are 
the garden and the orchard, the feeding of sheep, the swarms 
of bees, endless varieties of flowers. Nor is it only planting 
out that charms: there is also grafting — surely the most in- 
genious invention ever made by husbandmen. 

i6. I might continue my list of the delights of country 
life; but even what I have said I think is somewhat over 
long. However, you must pardon me ; for farming is a very 
favourite hobby of mine, and old age is naturally rather gar- 
rulous — for I would not be thought to acquit it of all faults. 

Well, it was in a life of this sort that Manius Curius, after 
celebrating triumphs over the Samnites, the Sabines, and 
Pyrrhus, spent his last days. When I look at his villa — 
for it is not far from my own — I never can enough admire 
the man's own frugality or the spirit of the age. As Curius 
was sitting at his hearth the Samnites, who brought him a 
large sum of gold, were repulsed by him ; for it was not, he 
said, a fine thing in his eyes to possess gold, but to rule 
those who possessed it. Could such a high spirit fail to 
make old age pleasant? 

But to return to farmers — not to wander from my own 
metier. In those days there were senators, i. e. old men, on 
their farms. For L. Quinctius Cincinnatus was actually at 
the plough when word was brought him that he had been 
named Dictator. It was by his order as Dictator, by the 
way, that C. Servilius Ahala, the Master of the Horse, 
seized and put to death Spurius Maelius when attempting to 
obtain royal power. Curius as well as other old men used 


to receive their summonses to attend the Senate in their 
farm houses, from which circumstance the summoners were 
called viatores or " travellers." Was these men's old age an 
object of pity who found their pleasure in the cultivation of 
the land? In my opinion, scarcely any life can be more 
blessed, not alone from its utility (for agriculture is bene- 
ficial to the whole human race), but also as much from the 
mere pleasure of the thing, to which I have already alluded, 
and from the rich abundance and supply of all things neces- 
sary for the food of man and for the worship of the gods 
above. So, as these are objects of desire to certain people, 
let us make our peace with pleasure. For the good and 
hard-working farmer's wine-cellar and oil-store, as well as 
his larder, are always well filled, and his whole farm-house 
is richly furnished. It abounds in pigs, goats, lambs, fowls, 
milk, cheese, and honey. Then there is the garden, which 
the farmers themselves call their " second flitch." A zest 
and flavour is added to all these by hunting and fowling in 
spare hours. Need I mention the greenery of meadows, the 
rows of trees, the beauty of vineyard and olive-grove? I 
■will put it briefly: nothing can either furnish necessaries 
more richly, or present a fairer spectacle, than well-culti- 
vated land. And to the enjoyment of that, old age does not 
merely present no hindrance — it actually invites and allures 
to it. For where else can it better warm itself, either by 
basking in the sun or by sitting by the fire, or at the proper 
time cool itself more wholesomely by the help of shade or 
water? Let the young keep their arms then to themselves, 
their horses, spears, their foils and ball, their swimming- 
baths and running path. To us old men let them, out of the 
many forms of sport, leave dice and counters; but even that 
as they choose, since old age can be quite happy without 

17. Xenophon's books are very useful for many purposes. 
Pray go on reading them with attention, as you have ever 
done. In what ample terms is agriculture lauded by him in 
the book about husbanding one's property, which is called 
Oeconomicus ! But to show you that he thought nothing so 
worthy of a prince as the taste for cultivating the soil, I will 
translate what Socrates says to Critobulus in that book : 


"When that most gallant Lacedaemonian Lysander came 
to visit the Persian prince Cyrus at Sardis, so eminent for his 
character and the glory of his rule, bringing him presents 
from his allies, he treated Lysander in all ways with courteous 
familiarity and kindness, and, among other things, took him 
to see a certain park carefully planted. Lysander expressed 
admiration of the height of the trees and the exact arrange- 
ment of their rows in the quincunx, the careful cultivation 
of the soil, its freedom from weeds, and the sweetness of 
the odours exhaled from the flowers, and went on to say 
that what he admired was not the industry only, but also the 
skill of the man by whom this had been planned and laid 
out. Cyrus replied : ' Well, it was I who planned the whole 
thing; these rows are my doing, the laying out is all mine; 
many of the trees were even planted by own hand.' Then 
Lysander, looking at his purple robe, the brilliance of his 
person, and his adornment Persian fashion with gold and 
many jewels, said: 'People are quite right, Cyrus, to call 
you happy, since the advantages of high fortune have been 
joined to an excellence like yours.' " 

This kind of good fortune, then, it is in the power of old 
men to enjoy; nor is age any bar to our maintaining pur- 
suits of every other kind, and especially of agriculture, to the 
very extreme verge of old age. For instance, we have it 
on record that M. Valerius Corvus kept it up to his hundredth 
year, living on his land and cultivating it after his active 
career was over, though between his first and sixth con- 
sulships there was an interval of six and forty years. So 
that he had an official career lasting the number of years 
which our ancestors defined as coming between birth and 
the beginning of old age. Moreover, that last period of his 
old age was more blessed than that of his middle life, in- 
asmuch as he had greater influence and less labour. For the 
crowning grace of old age is influence. 

How great was that of L. Caecilius Metellus ! How great 
that of Atilius Calatinus, over whom the famous epitaph was 
placed, " Very many classes agree in deeming this to have 
been the very first man of the nation" ! The line cut on his 
tomb is well known. It is natural, then, that a man should 
have had influence, in whose praise the verdict of history 


is unanimous. Again, in recent times, what a great man 
was Publius Crassus, Pontifex Maximus, and his successor 
in the same office, M. Lepidus ! I need scarcely mention 
Paulus or Africanus, or, as I did before, Maximus. It was 
not only their senatorial utterances that had weight: their 
least gesture had it also. In fact, old age, especially when it 
has enjoyed honours, has an influence worth all the pleasures 
of youth put together. 

i8. But throughout my discourse remember that my pan- 
egyric applies to an old age that has been established on 
foundations laid by youth. From which may be deduced what 
I once said with universal applause, that it was a wretched 
old age that had to defend itself by speech. Neither white 
hairs nor wrinkles can at once claim influence in themselves : 
it is the honourable conduct of earlier days that is rewarded 
by possessing influence at the last. Even things generally 
regarded as trifling and matters of course — being saluted, 
being courted, having way made for one, people rising when 
one approaches, being escorted to and from the forum, being 
referred to for advice — all these are marks of respect, ob- 
served among us and in other States — always most sedu- 
lously where the moral tone is highest. They say that Ly- 
sander the Spartan, whom I have mentioned before, used 
to remark that Sparta was the most dignified home for old 
age ; for that nowhere was more respect paid to years, no- 
where was old age held in higher honour. Nay, the story 
is told of how when a man of advanced years came into the 
theatre at Athens when the games were going on, no place 
was given him anywhere in that large assembly by his own 
countrymen; but when he came near the Lacedaemonians, 
who as ambassadors had a fixed place assigned to them, they 
rose as one man out of respect for him, and gave the 
veteran a seat. When they were greeted with rounds of 
applause from the whole audience, one of them remarked: 
"The Athenians know what is right, but will not do it." 

There are many excellent rules in our augural college, 
but among the best is one which affects our subject — that pre- 
cedence in speech goes by seniority ; and augurs who are older 
are preferred not only to those who have held higher office, 
but even to those who are actually in possession of imperium. 


What then are the physical pleasures to be compared with 
the reward of influence? Those who have employed it with 
distinction appear to me to have played the drama of life 
to its end, and not to have broken down in the last act like 
unpractised players. 

But, it will be said, old men are fretful, fidgety, ill-tem- 
pered, and disagreeable. If you come to that, they are also 
avaricious. But these are faults of character, not of the 
time of life. And, after all, fretfulness and the other faults 
I mentioned admit of some excuse — not, indeed, a complete 
one, but one that may possibly pass muster : they think them- 
selves neglected, looked down upon, mocked. Besides, with 
bodily weakness every rub is a source of pain. Yet all 
these faults are softened both by good character and good 
education. Illustrations of this may be found in real life, 
as also on the stage in the case of the brothers in the Adelphi, 
What harshness in the one, what gracious manners in the 
other ! The fact is that, just as it is not every wine, so it is 
not every life, that turns sour from keeping. Serious gravity 
I approve of in old age, but, as in other things, it must be 
within due limits: bitterness I can in no case approve. 
What the object of senile avarice may be I cannot conceive. 
For can there be anything more absurd than to seek more 
journey money, the less there remains of the journey? 

19. There remains the fourth reason, which more than 
anything else appears to torment men of my age and keep 
them in a flutter — ^the nearness of death, which, it must 
be allowed, cannot be far from an old man. But what a poor 
dotard must he be who has not learnt in the course of so 
long a life that death is not a thing to be feared? Death, 
that is either to be totally disregarded, if it entirely ex- 
tinguishes the soul, or is even to be desired, if it brings him 
where he is to exist forever. A third aJtef-aat^we, at any 
rate, cannot possibly be discovered. Why then should I 
be afraid if I am destined either pof to be mrserable;- after 
death or even to be happy? After all, who is sucn a fool 
as to feel certain — however young he may be — that he will 
be alive in the evening? Nay, that time of life has many 
more chances of death than ours. Young men more easily 
contract diseases; their illnesses are more serious; their 


treatment has to be more severe. Accordingly, only a few 
arrive at old age. If that were not so, life would be con- 
ducted better and more wisely; for it is in old men that 
thought, reason, and prudence are to be found; and if there 
had been no old men, States would never have existed at 
all. But I return to the subject of the imminence of death. 
What sort of charge is this against old age, when you see 
that it is shared by youth ? I had reason in the case of my 
excellent son — as you had, Scipio, in that of your brothers, 
who were expected to attain the highest honours — to realize 
that death is common to every time of life. Yes, you will 
say ; but a young man expects to live long ; an old man can- 
not expect to do so. Well, he is a fool to expect it. For 
what can be more foolish than to regard the uncertain as 
certain, the false as true ? " An old man has nothing even 
to hope." Ah, but it is just there that he is in a better 
position tharj a young man, since what the latter only hopes 
he has obtained. The one wishes to live long; the other 
has lived long. 

And yet, good heaven ! what is " long " in a man's life ? 
For grant the utmost limit: let us expect an age like that 
of the King of the Tartessi. For there was, as I find re- 
corded, a certain Agathonius at Gades who reigned eighty 
years and lived a hundred and twenty. But to my mind 
nothing seems even long in which there is any " last," for 
when that arrives, then all the past has slipped away — only 
that remains to which you have attained by virtue and right- 
eous actions. Hours indeed, and days and months and years 
depart, nor does past time ever return, nor can the future 
be known. Whatever time each is granted for life, with 
that he is bound to be content. An actor, in order to earn 
approval, is not bound to perform the play from beginning 
to end; let him only satisfy the audience in whatever act he 
appears. Nor need a wise man go on to the concluding 
" plaudite." For a short term of life is long enough for 
living well and honourably. But if you go farther, you have 
no more right to grumble than farmers do because the charm 
of the spring season is past and the summer and autumn have 
come. For the word " spring " in a way suggests youth, and 
points to the harvest to be: the other seasons are suited for 


the reaping and storing of the crops. Now the harvest of 
old age is, as I have often said, the memory and rich store 
of blessings laid up in earlier life. Again, all things that 
accord v^^ith nature are to be counted as good. But what 
can be more in accordance with nature than for old men 
to die? A thing, indeed, which also befalls young men, 
though nature revolts and fights against it. Accordingly, 
the death of young men seems to me like putting out a great 
fire with a deluge of water; but old men die like a fire going 
out because it has burnt down of its own nature without 
artificial means. Again, just as apples when unripe are 
torn from trees, but when ripe and mellow drop down, so 
it is violence that takes life from young men, ripeness from 
old. This ripeness is so delightful to me, that, as I approach 
nearer to death, I seem as it were to be sighting land, and 
to be coming to port at last after a long voyage. 

20. Again, there is no fixed borderline for old age, and 
you are making a good and proper use of it as long as you 
can satisfy the call of duty and disregard death. The result 
of this is, that old age is even more confident and courageous 
than youth. That is the meaning of Solon's answer to the 
tyrant Pisistratus. When the latter asked him what he re- 
lied upon in opposing him with such boldness, he is said to 
have replied, " On my old age." But that end of life is the 
best, when, without the intellect or senses being impaired, 
Nature herself takes to pieces her own handiwork which she 
also put together. Just as the builder of a ship or a house 
can break them up more easily than any one else, so the 
nature that knit together the human frame can also best un- 
fasten it. Moreover, a thing freshly glued together is always 
difficult to pull asunder; if old, this is easily done. 

The result is that the short time of life to them is not 
to be grasped at by old men with greedy eagerness, or aban- 
doned without cause. Pythagoras forbids us, without an 
order from our commander, that is God, to desert life's 
fortress and outpost. Solon's epitaph, indeed, is that of a 
wise man, in which he says that he does not wish his death 
to be unaccompanied by the sorrow and lamentations of his 
friends. He wants, I suppose, to be beloved by them. 
But I rather think Ennius says better: 


None grace me with their tears, nor weeping loud 
Make sad my funeral rites ! 

He holds that a death is not a subject for mourning when it 
is followed by immortality. 

Again, there may possibly be some sensation of dying — 
and that only for a short time, especially in the case of an 
old man: after death, indeed, sensation is either what one 
would desire, or it disappears altogether. But to disregard 
death is a lesson which must be studied from our youth up; 
for unless that is learnt, no one can have a quiet mind. For 
die we certainly must, and that too without being certain 
whether it may not be this very day. As death, therefore, 
is hanging over our head every hour, how can a man ever 
be unshaken in soul if he fears it? 

But on this theme I don't think I need much enlarge: when 
I remember what Lucius Brutus did, who was killed while 
defending his country; or the two Decii, who spurred their 
horses to a gallop and met a voluntary death ; or M. Atilius 
Regulus, who left his home to confront a death of torture, 
rather than break the word which he had pledged to the 
enemy; or the two Scipios, who determined to block the 
Carthaginian advance even with their own bodies; or your 
grandfather Lucius Paulus, who paid with his life for the 
rashness of his colleague in the disgrace at Cannae; or M. 
Marcellus, whose death not even the most bloodthirsty of 
enemies would allow to go without the honour of burial. 
It is enough to recall that our legions (as I have recorded in 
my Origins) have often marched with cheerful and lofty 
spirit to ground from which they believed that they would 
never return. That, therefore, which young men — not only 
uninstructed, but absolutely ignorant — treat as of no account, 
shall men who are neither young nor ignorant shrink from 
in terror ? Asa general truth, as it seems to me, it is weari- 
ness of all pursuits that creates weariness of life. There 
are certain pursuits adapted to childhood: do young men 
miss them ? There are others suited to early manhood : does 
that settled time of life called "middle age" ask for them? 
There are others, again, suited to that age, but not looked 
for in old age. There are, finally, some which belong to 
old age. Therefore, as the pursuits of the earlier ages have 


their time for disappearing, so also have those of old age. 
And when that takes place, a satiety of life brings on the 
ripe time for death. 

21. For I do not see why I should not venture to tell you 
my personal opinion as to death, of which I seem to myself 
to have a clearer vision in proportion as I am nearer to it. 
I believe, Scipio and Laelius, that your fathers — those illus- 
trious men and my dearest friends — are still alive, and 
that too with a life which alone deserves the name. For 
as long as we are imprisoned in this framework of the body, 
we perform a certain function and laborious work assigned 
us by fate. The soul, in fact, is of heavenly origin, forced 
down from its home in the highest, and, so to speak, buried 
in earth, a place quite opposed to its divine nature and its im- 
mortality. But I suppose the immortal gods to have sown 
souls broadcast in human bodies, that there might be some 
to survey the world, and while contemplating the order of the 
heavenly bodies to imitate it in the unvarying regularity of 
their life. Nor is it only reason and arguments that have 
brought me to this belief, but the great fame and authority 
of the most distinguished philosophers. I used to be told 
that Pythagoras and the Pythagoreans — almost natives of 
our country, who in old times had been called the Italian 
school of philosophers — never doubted that we had souls 
drafted from the universal Divine intelligence. I used be- 
sides to have pointed out to me the discourse delivered by 
Socrates on the last day of his life upon the immortality of 
the soul — Socrates who was pronounced by the oracle at 
Delphi to be the wisest of men. I need say no more. I 
have convinced myself, and I hold — in view of the rapid 
movement of the soul, its vivid memory of the past and its 
prophetic knowledge of the future, its many accomplish- 
ments, its vast range of knowledge, its numerous discoveries 
— that a nature embracing such varied gifts cannot itself 
be mortal. And since the soul is always in motion and yet 
has no external source of motion, for it is self-moved, I 
conclude that it will also have no end to its motion, because 
it is not likely ever to abandon itself. Again, since the nature 
of the soul is not composite, nor has in it any admixture that 
is not homogeneous and similar, I conclude that it is in- 


divisible, and, if indivisible, that it cannot perish. It is 
again a strong proof of men knowing most things before 
birth, that when mere children they grasp innumerable facts 
with such speed as to show that they are not then taking 
them in for the first time, but remembering and recalling 
them. This is roughly Plato's argument, 

22. Once more in Xenophon we have the elder Cyrus on 
his deathbed speaking as follows : — 

" Do not suppose, my dearest sons, that when I have left 
you I shall be nowhere and no one. Even when I was with 
you, you did not see my soul, but knew that it was in this 
body of mine from what I did. Believe then that it is still 
the same, even though you see it not. The honours paid to il- 
lustrious men had not continued to exist after their death, had 
the souls of these very men not done something to make us 
retain otir recollection of them beyond the ordinary time. 
For myself, I never could be persuaded that souls while in 
mortal bodies were alive, and died directly they left them; 
nor, in fact, that the soul only lost all intelligence when it 
left the unintelligent body. I believe rather that when, by 
being liberated from all corporeal admixture, it has begun to 
be pure and undefiled, it is then that it becomes wise. And 
again, when man's natural frame is resolved into its elements 
by death, it is clearly seen whither each of the other ele- 
ments departs : for they all go to the place from which they 
came: but the soul alone is invisible alike when present and 
when departing. Once more, you see that nothing is so like 
death as sleep. And yet it is in sleepers that souls most 
clearly reveal their divine nature; for they foresee many 
events when they are allowed to escape and are left free. 
This shows what they are likely to be when they have com- 
pletely freed themselves from the fetters of the body. 
Wherefore, if these things are so, obey me as a god. But 
if my soul is to perish with my body, nevertheless do you 
from awe of the gods, who guard and govern this fair uni- 
verse, preserve my memory by the loyalty and piety of your 

23. Such are the words of the dying Cyrus. I will now, 
with your good leave, look at home. No one, my dear Scipio, 
shall ever persuade me that your father Paulus and your two 


grandfathers Paulus and Africanus, or the father of Afri- 
canus, or his uncle, or many other illustrious men not nec- 
essary to mention, would have attempted such lofty deeds as 
to be remembered by posterity, had they not seen in their 
minds that future ages concerned them. Do you suppose — 
to take an old man's privilege of a little self-praise — that I 
should have been likely to undertake such heavy labours by 
day and night, at home and abroad, if I had been destined 
to have the same limit to my glory as to my life? Had it 
not been much better to pass an age of ease and repose with- 
out any labour or exertion? But my soul, I know not 
how, refusing to be kept down, ever fixed its eyes upon future 
ages, as though from a conviction that it would begin to live 
only when it had left the body. But had it not been the case 
that souls were immortal, it would not have been the souls 
of all the best men that made the greatest efforts after an im- 
mortality of fame. 

Again, is there not the fact that the wisest man ever dies 
with the greatest cheerfulness, the most unwise with the 
least? Don't you think that the soul which has the clearer 
and longer sight sees that it is starting for better things, while 
the soul whose vision is dimmer does not see it? For my 
part, I am transported with the desire to see your fathers, 
who were the object of my reverence and affection. Nor 
is it only those whom I knew that I long to see; it is those 
also of whom I have been told and have read, whom I have 
myself recorded in my history. When I am setting out for 
that, there is certainly no one who will find it easy to draw 
me back, or boil me up again like second Pelios. Nay, if 
some god should grant me to renew my childhood from my 
present age and once more to be crying in my cradle, I would 
firmly refuse ; nor should I in truth be willing, after having, 
as it were, run the full course, to be recalled from the 
winning-crease to the barriers. For what blessing has life to 
offer? Should we not rather say what labour? But grant- 
ing that it has, at any rate it has after all a limit either to 
enjoyment or to existence. I don't wish to depreciate life, as 
many men and good philosophers have often done; nor do 
I regret having lived, for I have done so in a way that lets me 
think that I was not born in vain. But I quit life as I would 


an inn, not as I would a home. For nature has given us 
a place of entertainment, not of residence. 

Oh glorious day when I shall set out to join that heavenly 
conclave and company of souls, and depart from the turmoil 
and impurities of this world ! For I shall not go to join 
only those whom I have before mentioned, but also my son 
Cato, than whom no better man was ever born, nor one more 
conspicuous for piety. His body was burnt by me, though 
mine ought, on the contrary, to have been burnt by him ; but 
his spirit, not abandoning, but ever looking back upon me, has 
certainly gone whither he saw that I too must come. I was 
thought to bear that loss heroically, not that I really bore 
it without distress, but I found my own consolation in the 
thought that the parting and separation between us was not 
to be for long. 

It is by these means, my dear Scipio, — for you said that 
you and Laelius were wont to express surprise on this point, 
— that my old age sits lightly on me, and is not only not 
oppressive but even delightful. But if I am wrong in think- 
ing the human soul immortal, I am glad to be wrong; nor 
will I allow the mistake which gives me so much pleasure 
to be wrested from me as long as I live. But if when dead, 
as some insignificant philosophers think, I am to be without 
sensation, I am not afraid of dead philosophers deriding 
my errors. Again, if we are not to be immortal, it is never- 
theless what a man must wish — to have his life end at its 
proper time. For nature puts a limit to living as to every- 
thing else. Now, old age is as it were the playing out of 
the drama, the full fatigue of which we should shun, es- 
pecially when we also feel that we have had more than 
enough of it. 

This is all I had to say on old age. I pray that you 
may arrive at it, that you may put my words to a practical 




The letters of Cicero are of a very varied character. They 
range from the most informal communications with members of 
his family to serious and elaborate compositions which are prac- 
tically treatises in epistolary form. A very large proportion of 
them were obviously written out of the mood of the moment, with 
no thought of the possibility of publication; and in these the 
style is comparatively relaxed and colloquial. Others, addressed 
to public characters, are practically of the same nature as his 
speeches, discussions of political questions intended to influence 
public opinion, and performing a function in the Roman life of the 
time closely analogous to that fulUlled at the present day by arti- 
cles in the great reviews, or editorials in prominent journals. 

In the case of both of these two main groups the interest is two- 
fold: personal and historical, though it is naturally in the private 
letters that we find most light thrown on the character of the 
writer. In spite of the spontaneity of these epistles there exists a 
great difference of opinion among scholars as to the personality 
revealed by them, and both in the extent of the divergence of view 
and in the heat of the controversy we are reminded of modern dis- 
cussions of the characters of men such as Gladstone or Roose- 
velt. It has been fairly said that there is on the whole more chance 
of justice to Cicero from the man of the world who understands 
how the stress and change of politics lead a statesman into ap- 
parently inconsistent utterances than from the professional scholar 
who subjects these utterances to the severest logical scrutiny, 
without the illumination of practical experience. 

Many sides of Cicero's life other than the political are reflected 
in the letters. From them we can gather a picture of how art 
ambitious Roman gentleman of some inherited wealth took to the 
legal profession as the regular means of becoming a public -figure; 
of how his fortune might be increased by fees, by legacies from 
friends, clients, and even complete strangers who thus sought 
to confer distinction on themselves ; of how the governor of 
a province could become rich in a year; of how the sons of 
Roman men of wealth gave trouble to their tutors, were sent to 
Athens, as to a university in our day, and found an alloivance 
of over $4,000 a year insufficient for their extravagances. Again, 



we see the greatest orator of Rome divorce his wife after thirty 
years, apparently because she had been indiscreet or unscrupulous 
in money matters, and marry at the age of sixty-three his own 
ward, a young girl whose fortune he admitted was the main attrac- 
tion. The coldness of temper suggested by these transactions is 
contradicted in turn by Cicero's romantic affection for his daugh~ 
ter T<ullia, whom he is never tired of praising for her cleverness 
and charm, and whose death almost broke his heart. 

Most of Cicero's letters were written in ink on paper or parch- 
ment with a reed pen; a few on tablets of wood or ivory covered 
with wax, the marks being cut with a stylus. The earlier letters 
he wrote with his own hand, the later were, except in rare cases, 
dictated to a secretary. There was, of course, no postal service, 
so the epistles were carried by private messengers or by the 
couriers who were constantly traveling between the provincial 
' officials and the capital. 

Apart from the letters to Atticus, the collection, arrangement, 
and publication of Cicero's correspondence seems to have been 
due to Tiro, the learned freedman who served him as secretary, 
and to whom some of the letters are addressed. Titus Pomponius 
Atticus, who edited the large collection of the letters written to him- 
self, was a cultivated Roman who lived more than twenty years 
in Athens for purposes of study. His zeal for cultivation was 
combined with the successful pursuit of wealth; and though Cicero 
relied on him for aid and advice in public as well as private mat- 
ters, their friendship did not prevent Atticus from being on good 
terms with men of the opposite party. 

Generous, amiable, and cultured, Atticus was not remarkable 
for the intensity of his devotion either to principles or persons. 
"That he was the lifelong friend of Cicero," says Professor 
Tyrrell, "is the best title which Atticus has to remembrance. As 
a man he was kindly, careful, and shrewd, but nothing more: there 
was never anything grand or noble in his character. He was the 
quintessence of prudent mediocrity." 

The period covered by the letters of Cicero is one of the most 
interesting and momentous in the history of the world, and these 
letters afford a picture of the chief personages and most important 
events of that age from the pen of a man who was not only him- 
self in the midst of the conflict, but who was a consummate 
literary artist. 



To Atticus (at Athens) 
Rome, July 

THE state of things in regard to my candidature, in 
which I know that you are supremely interested, is 
this, as far as can be as yet conjectured. The only 
person actually canvassing is P. Sulpicius Galba. He meets 
with a good old-fashioned refusal without reserve or dis- 
guise. In the general opinion this premature canvass of his 
is not unfavourable to my interests ; for the voters generally 
give as a reason for their refusal that they are under obliga- 
tions to me. So I hope my prospects are to a certain degree 
improved by the report getting about that my friends are 
found to be numerous. My intention was to begin my own 
canvass just at the very time that Cincius tells me that your 
servant starts with this letter, namely, in the campus at the 
time of the tribunician elections on the 17th of July. My 
fellow candidates, to mention only those who seem certain, 
are Galba and Antonius and Q. Cornificius. At this I 
imagine you smiling or sighing. Well, to make you positively 
smite your forehead, there are people who actually think that 
Caesonius will stand. I don't think Aquilius will, for he 
openly disclaims it and has alleged as an excuse his health 
and his leading position at the bar. Catiline will certainly 
be a candidate, if you can imagine a jury finding that the sun 
does not shine at noon. As for Aufidius and Palicanus, I don't 
think you will expect to hear from me about them. Of the 



candidates for this year's election Caesar is considered cer- 
tain. Thermus is looked upon as the rival of Silanus. These 
latter are so weak both in friends and reputation that it 
seems pas impossible to bring in Curius over their heads. 
But no one else thinks so. What seems most to my interests 
is that Thermus should get in with Caesar. For there is none 
of those at present canvassing who, if left over to my year, 
seems likely to be a stronger candidate, from the fact that he 
is commissioner of the via Flaminia, and when that has been 
finished, I shall be greatly relieved to have seen him elected 
consul this election. Such in outline is the position of affairs 
in regard to candidates up to date. For myself I shall take 
the greatest pains to carry out all the duties of a candidate, 
and perhaps, as Gaul seems to have a considerable voting 
power, as soon as business at Rome has come to a standstill 
I shall obtain a libera legatio a.n<i make an excursion in the 
course of September to visit Piso, but so as not to be back 
later than January. When I have as-certained the feelings 
of the nobility I will write you word. Everything else I hope 
will go smoothly, at any rate while my competitors are such 
as are now in town. You must undertake to secure for me 
the entourage of our friend Pompey, since you are nearer 
than I. Tell him I shall not be annoyed if he doesn't come to 
my election. So much for that business. But there is a 
matter for which I am very anxious that you should forgive 
me. Your uncle Caecilius having been defrauded of a large 
sum of money by P. Varius, began an action against his 
cousin A. Caninius Satyrus for the property which (as he 
alleged) the latter had received from Varius by a collusive 
sale. He was joined in this action by the other creditors, 
among whom were Lucullus and P. Scipio, and the man 
whom they thought would be official receiver if the property 
was put up for sale, Lucius Pontius; though it is ridiculous 
to be talking about a receiver at this stage in the proceed- 
ings. Caecilius asked me to appear for him against Satyrus. 
Now, scarcely a day passes that Satyrus does not call at my 
house. The chief object of his attentions is L. Domitius, but 
I am next in his regard. He has been of great service both 
to myself and to my brother Quintus in our elections. I was 
very much embarrassed by my intimacy with Satyrus as well 


as that with Domitius, on whom the success of my election 
depends more than on anyone else. I pointed out these facts 
to Csecilius; at the same time I assured him that if the case 
had been one exclusively between himself and Satyrus, I 
would have done what he wished. As the matter actually 
stood, all the creditors being concerned — and that two men 
of the highest rank, who, without the aid of anyone specially 
retained by Ca^cilius, would have no difficulty in maintain- 
ing their common cause — it was only fair that he should 
have consideration both for my private friendship and my 
present situation. He seemed to take this somewhat less 
courteously than I could have wished, or than is usual 
among gentlemen ; and from that time forth he has entirely 
withdrawn from the intimacy with me which was only of a 
few days' standing. Pray forgive me, and believe that I was 
prevented by nothing but natural kindness from assailing the 
reputation of a friend in so vital a point at a time of such 
very great distress, considering that he had shewn me every 
sort of kindness and attention. But if you incline to the 
harsher view of my conduct, take it that the interests of my 
canvass prevented me. Yet, even granting that to be so, I 
think you should pardon me, "since not for sacred beast or 
oxhide shield." You see in fact the position I am in, and 
how necessary I regard it, not only to retain but even to 
acquire all possible sources of popularity. I hope I have 
justified myself in your eyes, I am at any rate anxious to 
have done so. The Hermathena you sent I am delighted 
with: it has been placed with such charming effect that the 
whole gymnasium seems arranged specially for it. I am ex- 
ceedingly obliged to you. 


To Atticus (at Athens) 

Rome, July 

I HAVE to inform you that on the day of the election of 
L. lulius Caesar and C. Marcius Figulus to the consulship, 
I had an addition to my family in the shape of a baby boy. 
Terentia doing well. 


Why such a time without a letter from you? I have 
already written to you fully about my circumstances. At 
this present time I am considering whether to undertake the 
defence of my fellow candidate, Catiline. We have a jury 
to our minds with full consent of the prosecutor. I hope 
that if he is acquitted he will be more closely united with 
me in the conduct of our canvass ; but if the result be 
otherwise I shall bear it with resignation. Your early return 
is of great importance to me, for there is a very strong idea 
prevailing that some intimate friends of yours, persons of 
high rank, will be opposed to my election. To win me their 
favour I see that I shall want you very much. Wherefore 
be sure to be in Rome in January, as you have agreed to be. 


- ' To Cn. Pompeius Magnus 


M. Tullius Cicero, son of Marcus, greets Cn. Pompeius, son 
of Cneius, Imperator. 

If you and the army are well I shall be glad. From your 
official despatch I have, in common with everyone else, 
received the liveliest satisfaction; for you have given us 
that strong hope of peace, of which, in sole reliance on you, 
I was assuring everyone. But I must inform you that your 
old enemies — now posing as your friends — have received a 
stunning blow by this despatch, and, being disappointed in 
the high hopes they were entertaining, are thoroughly de- 
pressed. Though your private letter to me contained a 
somewhat slight expression of your affection, yet I can 
assure you it gave me pleasure: for there is nothing in 
which I habitually find greater satisfaction than in the con- 
sciousness of serving my friend; and if on any occasion I 
do not meet with an adequate return, I am not at all sorry 
to have the balance of kindness in my favour. Of this I feel 
no doubt — even if my extraordinary zeal in your behalf has 
failed to unite you to me — that the interests of the state will 
certainly effect a mutual attachment and coalition between 


us. To let you know, however, what I missed in your letter 
I will write with the candour which my own disposition and 
our common friendship demand. I did expect some con- 
gratulation in your letter on my achievements, for the sake 
at once of the ties between us and of the Republic. This I 
presume to have been omitted by you from a fear of hurting 
anyone's feelings. But let me tell you that what I did for 
the salvation of the country is approved by the judgment 
and testimony of the whole world. You are a much greater 
man that Africanus, but I am not much inferior to Laelius 
either; and when you come home you will recognize that I 
have acted with such prudence and spirit, that you will not 
now be ashamed of being coupled with me in politics as well 
as in private friendship. 

IV (A I, 17) 

To Atticus (in Epirus) 

Rome, 5 December 

YotJR letter, in which you inclose copies of his letters, has 
made me realize that my brother Quintus's feehngs have 
undergone many alternations, and that his opinions and judg- 
ments have varied widely from time to time. This has not 
only caused me all the pain which my extreme affection for 
both of you was bound to bring, but it has also made me 
wonder what can have happened to cause my brother Quintus 
such deep offence, or such an extraordinary change of 
feeling. And yet I was already aware, as I saw that you 
also, when you took leave of me, were beginning to suspect, 
that there was some lurking dissatisfaction, that his feelings 
were wounded, and that certain unfriendly suspicions had 
sunk deep into his heart. On trying on several previous 
occasions, but more eagerly than ever after the allotment of 
his province, to assuage these feelings, I failed to discover 
on the one hand that the extent of his offence was so great 
as your letter indicates ; but on the other I did not make as 
much progress in allaying it as I wished. However, I con- 
soled myself with thinking that there would be no doubt of 


his seeing you at Dyrrachium, or somewhere in your part 
of the country: and, if that happened, I felt sure and fully 
persuaded that everything would be made smooth between 
you, not only by conversation and mutual explanation, but 
by the very sight of each other in such an interview. For 
I need not say in writing to you, who knows it quite well, 
how kind and sweet-tempered my brother is, as ready to 
forgive as Jie is sensitive in taking offence. But it most 
unfortunately happened that you did not see him anywhere. 
For the impression he had received from the artifices of 
others had more weight with him than duty or relationship, 
or the old affection so long existing between you, which 
ought to have been the strongest influence of all. And yet, 
as to where the blame for this misunderstanding resides, I 
can more easily conceive than write : since I am afraid that, 
while defending my own relations, I should not spare yours. 
For I perceive that, though no actual wound was inflicted by 
members of the family, they yet could at least have cured it. 
But the root of the mischief in this case, which perhaps 
extends farther than appears, I shall more conveniently 
explain to you when we meet. As to the letter he sent to you 
from Thessalonica, and about the language which you sup- 
pose him to have used both at Rome among your friends and 
on his journey, I don't know how far the matter went, but 
my whole hope of removing this unpleasantness rests on 
your kindness. For if you will only make up your mind to 
believe that the best men are often those whose feelings are 
most easily irritated and appeased, and that this quickness, 
so to speak, and sensitiveness of disposition are generally 
signs of a good heart; and lastly — and this is the main 
thing — that we must mutually put up with each other's 
gaucheries (shall I call them?), or faults, or injurious acts, 
then these misunderstandings will, I hope, be easily smoothed 
away. I beg you to take this view, for it is the dearest wish 
of my heart (which is yours as no one else's can be) that 
there should not be one of my family or friends who does 
not love you and is not loved by you. 

That part of your letter was entirely superfluous, in which 
you mention what opportunities of doing good business in 
the provinces or the city you let pass at other times as well 


as in the year of my consulship: for I am thoroughly per- 
suaded of your unselfishness and magnanimity, nor did I ever 
think that there was any difference between you and me 
except in our choice of a career. Ambition led me to seek 
official advancement, while another and perfectly laudable 
resolution led you to seek an honourable privacy. In the 
true glory, which is founded on honesty, industry, and piety, 
I place neither myself nor anyone else above you. In affec- 
tion towards myself, next to my brother and immediate 
family, I put you first. For indeed, indeed I have seen and 
thoroughly appreciated how your anxiety and joy have cor- 
responded with the variations of my fortunes. Often has 
your congratulation added a charm to praise, and your con- 
solation a welcome antidote to alarm. Nay, at this moment 
of your absence, it is not only your advice — in which you 
excel — but the interchange of speech — in which no one gives 
me so much delight as you do — that I miss most, shall I say 
in politics, in which circumspection is always incumbent on 
me, or in my forensic labour, which I formerly sustained 
with a view to official promotion, and nowadays to maintain 
my position by securing popularity, or in the mere business 
of my family? In all these I missed you and our conversa- 
tions before my brother left Rome, and still more do I miss 
them since. Finally, neither my work nor rest, neither my 
business nor leisure, neither my affairs in the forum or at 
home, public or private, can any longer do without your most 
consolatory and affectionate counsel and conversation. The 
modest reserve which characterizes both of us has often 
prevented my mentioning these facts; but on this occasion 
it was rendered necessary by that part of your letter in 
which you expressed a wish to have yourself and your char- 
acter " put straight " and " cleared " in my eyes. Yet, in 
the midst of all this unfortunate alienation and anger on his 
part, there is yet one fortunate circumstance — that your 
determination of not going to a province was known to me 
and your other friends, and had been at various times 
asserted by yourself; so that your not being with him may 
be attributed to your personal tastes and judgment, not to 
the quarrel and rupture between you. So those ties which 
have been broken will be restored, and ours which have been 


so religiously preserved will retain all their old inviolability. 
At Rome I find politics in a shaky condition; everything 
is unsatisfactory and foreboding change. For I have no 
doubt you have been told that our friends, the equites, are 
all but alienated from the senate. Their first grievance was 
the promulgation of a bill on the authority of the senate for 
the trial of such as had taken bribes for giving a verdict. I 
happened not to be in the house when that decree was passed, 
but when I found that the equestrian order was indignant at 
it, and yet refrained from openly saying so, I remonstrated 
with the senate, as I thought, in very impressive language, and 
was very weighty and eloquent considering the unsatisfac- 
tory nature of my cause. But here is another piece of almost 
intolerable coolness on the part of the equites, which I have 
not only submitted to, but have even put in as good a light 
as possible ! The companies which had contracted with the 
censors for Asia complained that in the heat of the com- 
petition they had taken the contract at an excessive price; 
they demanded that the contract should be annulled. I led 
in their support, or rather, I was second, for it was Crassus 
who induced them to venture on this demand. The case is 
scandalous, the demand a disgraceful one, and a confession 
of rash speculation. Yet there was a very great risk that, 
if they got no concession, they would be completely alienated 
from the senate. Here again I came to the rescue more than 
anyone else, and secured them a full and very friendly house, 
in which I, on the ist and 2nd of December, delivered long 
speeches on the dignity and harmony of the two orders. The 
business is not yet settled, but the favourable feeling of the 
senate has been made manifest: for no one had spoken 
against it except the consul-designate, Metellus; while our 
hero Cato had still to speak, the shortness of the day having 
prevented his turn being reached. Thus I, in the mainte- 
nance of my steady policy, preserve to the best of my ability 
that harmony of the orders which was originally my joiner's 
work; but since it all now seems in such a crazy condition, 
I am constructing what I may call a road towards the main- 
tenance of our power, a safe one I hope, which I cannot 
fully describe to you in a letter, but of which I will never- 
theless give you a hint. I cultivate close intimacy with 


Pompey. I foresee what you will say. I will use all neces- 
sary precautions, and I will write another time at greater 
length about my schemes for managing the Republic. You 
must know that Lucceius has it in his mind to stand for the 
consulship at once; for there are said to be only two candi- 
dates in prospect. Csesar is thinking of coming to terms 
with him by the agency of Arrius, and Bibulus also thinks he 
may effect a coalition with him by means of C. Piso. You 
smile? This is no laughing matter, believe me. What else 
shall I write to you ? What ? I have plenty to say, but must 
put it off to another time. If you mean to wait till you 
hear, let me know. For the moment I am satisfied with a 
modest request, though it is what I desire above everything — 
that you should come to Rome as soon as possible. 
5 December. 

To TerieiJtia, Tulliola, and Yotjng Cicero (at Rome) 
Brundisium, 29 April 

Yes, I do write to you less often than I might, because, 
though I am always wretched, yet when I write to you or 
read a letter from you, I am in such floods of tears that I 
cannot endure it. Oh, that I had clung less to life ! I should 
at least never have known real sorrow, or not much of it, in 
my life. Yet if fortune has reserved for me any hope of re- 
covering at any time any position again, I was not utterly 
wrong to do so: if these miseries are to be permanent, I 
only wish, my dear, to see you as soon as possible and to die 
in your arms, since neither gods, whom you have worshipped 
with such pure devotion, nor men, whom I have ever served, 
have made us any return. I have been thirteen days at 
Brundisium in the house of M. Lsenius Flaccus, a very 
excellent man, who has despised the risk to his fortunes and 
civil existence in comparison to keeping me safe, nor has 
been induced by the penalty of a most iniquitous law to 
refuse me the rights and good offices of hospitality and 
friendship. May I sometime have the opportunity of repay- 


ing him ! Feel gratitude I always shall. I set out from 
Brundisium on the 29th of April, and intend going through 
Macedonia to Cyzicus. What a fall ! What a disaster ! 
What can I say? Should I ask you to come — a woman of 
weak health and broken spirit? Should I refrain from 
asking you? Am I to be without you, then? I think the 
best course is this: if there is any hope of my restoration, 
stay to promote it and push the thing on: but if, as I fear, 
it proves hopeless, pray come to me by any means in your 
power. Be sure of this, that if I have you I shall not 
think myself wholly lost. But what is to become of my 
darling Tullia? You must see to that now: I can think of 
nothing. But certainly, however things turn out, we must 
do everything to promote that poor little girl's married hap- 
piness and reputation. Again, what is my boy Cicero to 
do? Let him, at any rate, be ever in my bosom and in my 
arms. I can't write more. A fit of weeping hinders me. 
I don't know how you have got on; whether you are left in 
possession of anything, or have been, as I fear, entirely 
plundered. Piso, as you say, I hope will always be our 
friend. As to the manumission of the slaves you need not 
be uneasy. To begin with, the promise made to yours was 
that you would treat them according as each severally de- 
served. So far Orpheus has behaved well, besides him no 
one very markedly so. With the rest of the slaves the 
arrangement is that, if my property is forfeited, they should 
become my freedmen, supposing them to be able to main- 
tain at law that status. But if my property remained in 
my ownership, they were to continue slaves, with the ex- 
ception of a very few. But these are trifles. To return to 
your advice, that I should keep up my courage and not 
give up hope of recovering my position, I only wish that 
there were any good grounds for entertaining such a hope. 
As it is, when, alas ! shall I get a letter from you ? Who will 
bring it me? I would have waited for it at Brundisium, but 
the sailors would not allow it, being unwilling to lose a 
favourable wind. For the rest, put as dignified a face on 
the matter as you can, my dear Terentia. Our life is over: 
we have had our day: it is not any fault of ours that has 
ruined us, but our virtue. I have made no false step, except 



in not losing my life when I lost my honours. But since our 
children preferred my living, let us bear everything else, 
however intolerable. And yet I, who encourage you, cannot 
encourage myself. I have sent that faithful fellow Clodius 
Philhetasrus home, because he was hampered with weakness 
of the eyes. Sallustius seems likely to outdo everybody in his 
attentions. Pescennius is exceedingly \imd to me; and I 
have hopes that he will always be attentive to you. Sicca 
had said that he would accompany me; but he has left 
Brundisium. Take the greatest care of your health, and 
believe me that I am more affected by your distress than my 
own. My dear Terentia, most faithful and best of wives, 
and my darling little daughter, and that last hope of my 
race, Cicero, good-bye ! 
29 April, from Brundisium. 


To His Brother Quintus (On His Way to Rome) 

Thessalonica, 15 June 

Brother ! Brother ! Brother ! did you really fear that I had 
been induced by some angry feeling to send slaves to you 
without a letter ? Or even that I did not wish to see you ? I 
to be angry with you ! Is it possible for me to be angry with 
you ? ■ Why, one would think that it was you that brought me 
low ! Your enemies, your unpopularity, that miserably ruined 
me, and not I that unhappily ruined you ! The fact is, the 
much-praised consulate of mine has deprived me of you, of 
children, country, fortune; from you I should hope it will 
have taken nothing but myself. Certainly on your side I 
have experienced nothing but what was honourable and 
gratifying: on mine you have grief for my fall and fear for 
your own, regret, mourning, desertion. / not wish to see 
you? The truth is rather that I was unwilling to be 
seen by you. For you would not have seen your brother — not 
the brother you had left, not the brother you knew, not him 
to whom you had with mutual tears bidden farewell as he fol- 


lowed you on your departure for your province : not a trace 
even or faint image of him, but rather w^hat I may call the 
likeness of a living corpse. And oh that you had sooner seen 
me or heard of me as a corpse ! Oh that I could have left 
you to survive, not my life merely, but my undiminished 
rank! But I call all the gods to witness that the one argu- 
ment which recalled me from death was, that all declared 
that to some extent your life depended upon mine. In which 
matter I made an error and acted culpably. For if I had 
died, that death itself would have given clear evidence of my 
fidelity and love to you. As it is, I have allowed you to be 
deprived of my aid, though I am alive, and with me still 
living to need the help of others ; and my voice, of all others, 
to fail when dangers threatened my family, which had so 
often been successfully used in the defence of the merest 
strangers. For as to the slaves coming to you without a 
letter, the real reason (for you see that it was not anger) 
was a deadness of my faculties, and a seemingly endless 
deluge of tears and sorrows. How many tears do you sup- 
pose these very words have cost me? As many as I know 
they will cost yOU to read them! Can I ever refrain from 
thinking of you or ever think of you without tears? For 
when I miss you, is it only a brother that I miss? Rather it 
is a brother of almost my own age in the charm of his 
companionship, a son in his consideration for my wishes, a 
father in the wisdom of his advice ! What pleasure did I 
ever have without you, or you without me? And what must 
my case be when at the same time I miss a daughter: How 
affectionate ! how modest ! how clever ! The express image 
of my face, of my speech, of my very soul ! Or again a 
son, the prettiest boy, the very joy of my heart? Cruel in- 
human monster that I am, I dismissed him from my arms 
better schooled in the world than I could have wished: for 
the poor child began to understand what was going on. So, 
too, your own son, your own image, whom my little Cicero 
loved as a brother, and was now beginning to respect as an 
elder brother ! Need I mention also how I refused to allow 
my unhappy wife — the truest of helpmates — to accompany 
me, that there might be some one to protect the wrecks of 
the calamity which had fallen on us both, and guard our 


common children? Nevertheless, to the best of my ability, 
I did write a letter to you, and gave it to your freedman 
Philogonus, which, I believe, was delivered to you later on ; 
and in this I repeat the advice and entreaty, which had been 
already transmitted to you as a message from me by my 
slaves, that you should go on with your journey and hasten 
to Rome. For, in the first place, I desired your protection, 
in case there were any of my enemies whose cruelty was 
not yet satisfied by my fall. In the next place, I dreaded the 
renewed lamentation which our meeting would cause: while 
I could not have borne your departure, and was afraid 
of the very thing you mention in your letter — that you 
would be unable to tear yourself away. For these reasons 
the supreme pain of not seeing you — and nothing more 
painful or more wretched could, I think, have happened to 
the most affectionate and united of brothers — was a less 
misery than would have been such a meeting followed by 
such a parting. Now, if you can, though I, whom you al- 
ways regarded as a brave man, cannot do so, rouse yourself 
and collect your energies in view of any contest you may 
have to confront. I hope, if my hope has anything to go 
upon, that your own spotless character and the love of your 
fellow citizens, and even remorse for my treatment, may 
prove a certain protection to you. But if it turns out that 
you are free from personal danger, you will doubtless do 
whatever you think can be done for me. In that matter, 
indeed, many write to me at great length and declare they 
have hopes; but I personally cannot see what hope there 
is, since my enemies have the greatest influence, while 
my friends have in some cases deserted, in others even be- 
trayed me, fearing perhaps in my restoration a censure on 
their own treacherous conduct. But how matters stand 
with you I would have you ascertain and report to me. In 
any case I shall continue to live as long as you shall need 
me, in view of any danger you may have to undergo : longer 
than that I cannot go in this kind of life. For there is 
neither wisdom nor philosophy with sufficient strength to 
sustain such a weight of grief. I know that there has been 
a time for dying, more honourable and more advantageous; 
and this is not the only one of my many omissions; which. 


if I should choose to bewail, I should merely be increasing 
your sorrow and emphasizing my own stupidity. But one 
thing I am not bound to do, and it is in fact impossible — re- 
main in a life so wretched and so dishonoured any longer 
than your necessities, or some well-grounded hope, shall de- 
mand. For I, who was lately supremely blessed in brother, 
children, wife, wealth, and in the very nature of that wealth, 
while in position, influence, reputation, and popularity, I was 
inferior to none, however, distinguished — I cannot, I repeat, 
go on longer lamenting over myself and those dear to me 
in a life of such humiliation as this, and in a state of such 
utter ruin. Wherefore, what do you mean by writing to me 
about negotiating a bill of exchange? As though I were 
not now wholly dependent on your means ! And that is 
just the very thing in which I see and feel, to my misery, of 
what a culpable act I have been guilty in squandering to no 
purpose the money which I received from the treasury in 
your name, while you have to satisfy your creditors out of 
the very vitals of yourself and your son. However, the 
sum mentioned in your letter has been paid to M. Antonius, 
and the same amount to Csepio. For me the sum at present 
in my hands is sufficient for what I contemplate doing. For 
in either case — whether I am restored or given up in de- 
spair — I shall not want any more money. For yourself, if 
you are molested, I think you should apply to Crassus and 
Calidius. I don't know how far Hortensius is to be trusted. 
Myself, with the most elaborate presence of affection and 
the closest daily intimacy, he treated with the most utter 
want of principle and the most consummate treachery, and 
Q. Arrius helped him in it: acting under whose advice, 
promises, and injunctions, I was left helpless to fall into 
this disaster. But this you will keep dark for fear they might 
injure you. Take care also — and it is on this account that 
I think you should cultivate Hortensius himself by means 
of Pomponius — that the epigram on the lex Aurelia at- 
tributed to you when candidate for the sedileship is not 
proved by false testimony to be yours. For there is nothing 
that I am so afraid of as that, when people understand how 
much pity for me your prayers and your acquittal will rouse, 
they may attack you with all the greater violence. Messalla 


I reckon as really attached to you: Pompey I regard as still 
pretending only. But may you never have to put these 
things to the test ! And that prayer I would have offered to 
the gods had they not ceased to listen to prayers of mine. 
However, I do pray that they may be content with these 
endless miseries of ours; among which, after all, there 
is no discredit for any wrong thing done — sorrow is the 
beginning and end, sorrow that punishment is most severe 
when our conduct has been most unexceptionable. As 
to my daughter and yours and my young Cicero, why 
should I recommend them to you, my dear brother? Rather 
I grieve that their orphan state will cause you no less 
sorrow than it does me. Yet as long as you are uncon- 
demned they will not be fatherless. The rest, by my hopes 
of restoration and the privilege of dying in my fatherland, 
my tears will not allow me to write ! Terentia also I would 
ask you to protect, and to write me word on every subject. 
Be as brave as the nature of the case admits. 
Thessalonica, 13 June. 


To Atticus (In Epirus) 
Rome (September) 

Directly I arrived at Rome, and there was anyone to whom 
I could safely intrust a letter for you, I thought the very 
first thing I ought to do was to congratulate you in your 
absence on my return. For I knew, to speak candidly, that 
though in giving me advice you had not been more courageous 
or far-seeing than myself, nor — considering my devotion to 
you in the past — too careful in protecting me from disaster, 
yet that you — though sharing in the first instance in my mis- 
take, or rather madness, and in my groundless terror — had 
nevertheless been deeply grieved at our separation, and had 
bestowed immense pains, zeal, care, and labour in securing 
my return. Accordingly, I can truly assure you of this, that 
in the midst of supreme joy and the most, gratifying con- 
gratulations, the one thing wanting to fill my cup of happi- 
ness to the brim is the sight of you, or rather your embrace ; 

4 — HC IX 


and if I ever forfeit that again, when I have once got pos- 
session of it, and if, too, I do not exact the full delights of 
your charming society that have fallen into arrear in the 
past, I shall certainly consider myself unworthy of this 
renewal of my good fortune. 

In regard to my political position, I have resumed what 
I thought there would be the utmost difficulty in recovering — 
my brilliant standing at the bar, my influence in the senate, 
and a popularity with the loyalists even greater than I 
desired. In regard, however, to my private property — as to 
which you are well aware to what an extent it has been 
crippled, scattered, and plundered — I am in great difficulties, 
and stand in need, not so much of your means (which I look 
upon as my own), as of your advice for collecting and 
restoring to a sound state the fragments that remain. For 
the present, though I believe everything finds its way to you 
in the letters of your friends, or even by messengers and 
rumour, yet I will write briefly what I think you would like 
to learn from my letters above all others. On the 4th of 
August I started from Dyrrachium, the very day on which 
the law about me was carried. I arrived at Brundisium on 
the 5th of August. There my dear Tulliola met me on what 
was her own birthday, which happened also to be the name- 
day of the colony of Brundisium and of the temple of Safety, 
near your house. This coincidence was noticed and cele- 
brated with warm congratulations by the citizens of Brun- 
disium. On the 8th of August, while still at Brundisium, I 
learnt by a letter from Quintus that the law had been passed 
at the comitia centuriata with a surprising enthusiasm on 
the part of all ages and ranks, and with an incredible influx 
of voters from Italy. I then commenced my journey, amidst 
the compliments of the men of highest consideration at Brun- 
disium, and was met at every point by legates bearing con- 
gratulations. My arrival in the neighbourhood of the city 
was the signal for every soul of every order known to my 
nomenclator coming out to meet me, except those enemies 
who could not either dissemble or deny the fact of their 
being such. On my arrival at the Porta Capena, the steps 
of the temples were already thronged from top to bottom by 
the populace; and while their congratulations were dis- 


played by the loudest possible applause, a similar throng and 
similar applause accompanied me right up to the Capitol, 
and in the forum and on the Capitol itself there was again 
a wonderful crowd. Next day, in the senate, that is, the 
5th of September, I spoke my thanks to the senators. Two 
days after that — there having been a very heavy rise in the 
price of corn, and great crowds having flocked first to the 
theatre and then to the senate-house, shouting out, at the 
instigation of Clodius, that the scarcity of corn was my 
doing — meetings of the senate being held on those days to 
discuss the corn question, and Pompey being called upon to 
undertake the management of its supply in the common talk 
not only of the plebs, but of the aristocrats also, and being 
himself desirous of the commission, when the people at large 
called upon me by name to support a decree to that effect, 
I did so, and gave my vote in a carefully-worded speech. 
The other consulars, except Messalla and Afranius, having 
absented themselves on the ground that they could not vote 
with safety to themselves, a decree of the senate was passed 
in the sense of my motion, namely, that Pompey should be 
appealed to to undertake the business, and that a law should 
be proposed to that effect. This decree of the senate having 
been publicly read, and the people having, after the sense- 
less and new-fangled custom that now prevails, applauded 
the mention of my name, I delivered a speech. All the 
magistrates present, except one praetor and two tribunes, 
called on me to speak. Next day a full senate, including all 
the consulars, granted everything that Pompey asked for. 
Having demanded fifteen legates, he named me first in the 
list, and said that he should regard me in all things as a 
second self. The consuls drew up a law by which complete 
control over the corn-supply for five years throughout the 
whole world was given to Pompey. A second law is drawn 
up by Messius, granting him power over all money, and 
adding a fleet and army, and an imperium in the provinces 
superior to that of their governors. After that our consular 
law seems moderate indeed : that of Messius is quite intoler- 
able. Pompey professes to prefer the former; his friends 
the latter. The consulars led by Favonius murmur : I hold 
my tongue, the more so that the pontifices have as yet given 


no answer in regard to my house. If they annul the con- 
secration I shall have a splendid site. The consuls, in 
accordance with a decree of the senate, will value the cost 
of the building that stood upon it ; but if the pontifices decide 
otherwise, they will pull down the Clodian building, give out 
a contract in their own name (for a temple), and value to 
me the cost of a site and house. So our affairs are 
"For happy though but ill, for ill not worst." 

In regard to money matters I am, as you know, much embar- 
rassed. Besides, there are certain, domestic troubles, which 
I do not intrust to writing. My brother Quintus I love as 
he deserves for his eminent qualities of loyalty, virtue, and 
good faith. I am longing to see you, and beg you to hasten 
your return, resolved not to allow me to be without the 
benefit of your advice. I am on the threshold, as it were, 
of a second life. Already certain persons who defended me 
in my absence begin to nurse a secret grudge at me now that 
I am here, and to make no secret of their jealousy. I want 
you very much. 


To HIS Brother Quintus (in Sardinia) 

Rome, 12 February 

I HAVE already told you the earlier proceedings; now let 
me describe what was done afterwards. The legations were 
postponed from the ist of February to the 13th. On the 
former day our business was not brought to a settlement. On 
the 2nd of February Milo appeared for trial. Pompey came to 
support him. Marcellus spoke on being called upon by me. 
We came off with flying colours. The case was adjourned 
to the 7th. Meanwhile (in the senate), the legations having 
been postponed to the 13th, the business of allotting the 
quaestors and furnishing the outfit of the praetors was 
brought before the house. But nothing was done, because 
many speeches were interposed denouncing the state of the 
Republic. Gains Cato published his bill for the recall of 
Lentulus, whose son thereon put on mourning. On the 
7th Milo appeared, Pompey spoke, or rather wished to 


speak. For as soon as he got up Clodius's ruffians raised a 
shout, and throughout his whole speech he was interrupted, 
not only by hostile cries, but by personal abuse and insult- 
ing remarks. However, when he had finished his speech — 
for he shewed great courage in these circumstances, he was 
not cowed, he said all he had to say, and at times had by 
his commanding presence even secured silence for his words 
— well, when he had finished, up got Clodius. Our party 
received him with such a shout — for they had determined to 
pay him out — that he lost all presence of mind, power of 
speech, or control over his countenance. This went on up 
to two o'clock — Pompey having finished his speech at noon 
— and every kind of abuse, and finally epigrams of the most 
outspoken indecency were uttered against Clodius and 
Clodia. Mad and livid with rage Clodius, in the very midst 
of the shouting, kept putting questions to his claque: "Who 
was it who was starving the commons to death?" His 
ruffians answered, "Pompey." "Who wanted to be sent to 
Alexandria?" They answered, "Pompey." "Who did they 
wish to go?" They answered, "Crassus." The latter was 
present at the time with no friendly feelings to Milo. About 
three o'clock, as though at a given signal, the Clodians began 
spitting at our men. There was an outburst of rage. They 
began a movement for forcing us from our ground. Our 
men charged: his ruffians turned tail. Clodius was pushed 
off the rostra: and then we too made our escape for fear of 
mischief in the riot. The senate was summoned into the 
Curia : Pompey went home. However, I did not myself enter 
the senate-house, lest I should be obliged either to refrain 
from speaking on matters of such gravity, or in defend- 
ing Pompey (for he was being attacked by Bibulus, Curio, 
Favonius, and Servilius the younger) should give offence to 
the loyalists. The business was adjourned to the next day. 
Clodius fixed the Quirinalia (17th of February) for his pros- 
ecution. On the 8th the senate met in the temple of Apollo, 
that Pompey might attend. Pompey made an impressive 
speech. That day nothing was concluded. On the 9th in the 
temple of Apollo a degree passed the senate "that what had 
taken place on the 7th of February was treasonable." On this 
day Cato warmly inveighed against Pompey, and throughout 


his speech arraigned him as though he were at the bar. He 
said a great deal about me, to my disgust, though it was in 
very laudatory terms. When he attacked Pompey's perfidy 
to me, he was listened to in profound silence on the part of 
my enemies. Pompey answered him boldly with a palpable 
allusion to Crassus, and said outright that "he would take 
better precautions to protect his life than Africanus had 
done, whom C. Carbo had assassinated." Accordingly, 
important events appear to me to be in the wind. For 
Pompey understands what is going on, and imparts to me 
that plots are being formed against his life, that Gains Cato 
is being supported by Crassus, that money is being supplied 
to Clodius, that both are backed by Crassus and Curio, as 
well as by Bibulus and his other detractors : that he must 
take extraordinary precautions to prevent being overpowered 
by that demagogue — with a people all but wholly alienated, 
a nobility hostile, a senate ill-affected, and the younger men 
corrupt. So he is making his preparations and summoning 
men from the country. On his part, Clodius is rallying his 
gangs: a body of men is being got together for the Quiri- 
nalia. For that occasion we are considerably in a majority, 
owing to the forces brought up by Pompey himself: and a 
large contingent is expected from Picenum and Gallia, to 
enable us to throw out Cato's bills also about Milo and 

On the loth of February an indictment was lodged against 
Sestius for bribery by the informer Cn. Nerius, of the Pupi- 
nian tribe, and on the same day by a certain M. TuUius for 
riot. He was ill. I went at once, as I was bound to do. 
to his house, and put myself wholly at his service : and that 
was more than people expected, who thought that I had 
good cause for being angry with him. The result is that my 
extreme kindness and grateful disposition are made manifest 
both to Sestius himself and to all the world, and I shall 
be as good as my word. But this same informer Nerius 
also named Cn. Lentulus Vatia and C. Cornelius to the 
commissioners. On the same day a decree passed the 
senate "that political clubs and associations should be 
broken up, and that a law in regard to them should be 
brought in, enacting that those who did not break off from 


them should be liable to the same penalty as those convicted 
of riot." 

On the nth of February I spoke in defence of Bestia on 
a charge of bribery before the praetor Cn. Domitius, in the 
middle of the forum and in a very crowded court ; and in the 
course of my speech I came to the incident of Sestius, after 
receiving many wounds in the temple of Castor, having been 
preserved by the aid of Bestia. Here I took occasion to 
pave the way beforehand for a refutation of the charges 
which are being got up against Sestius, and I passed a well- 
deserved encomium upon him with the cordial approval of 
everybody. He was himself very much delighted with it. 
I tell you this because you have often advised me in your 
letters to retain the friendship of Sestius. I am writing 
this on the 12th of February before daybreak; the day on 
which I am to dine with Pomponius on the occasion of his 

Our position in other respects is such as you used to cheer 
my despondency by telling me it would be — one of great 
dignity and popularity; this is a return to old times for 
you and me effected, my brother, by your patience, high 
character, loyalty, and, I may also add, your conciliatory 
manners. The house of Licinius, near the grove of Piso, 
has been taken for you. But, as I hope, in a few months' 
time, after the ist of July, you will move into your own. 
Some excellent tenants, the Lamiae, have taken your house 
in Carinae. I have received no letter from you since the 
one dated Olbia. I am anxious to hear how you are and 
what you find to amuse you, but above all to see you your- 
self as soon as possible. Take care of your health, my dear 
brother, and though it is winter time, yet reflect that after all 
it is Sardinia that you are in. 

15 February. 



To Atticus (Returning from Epirus) 

Antium (April) 

It will be delightful if you come to see us here. You will 
find that Tyrannio has made a wonderfully good arrange- 
ment of my books, the remains of which are better than I had 
expected. Still, I wish you would send me a couple of your 
library slaves for Tyrannio to employ as gluers, and in other 
subordinate work, and tell them to get some fine parchment 
to make title-pieces, which you Greeks, I think, call " sillybi." 
But all this is only if not inconvenient to you. In any case, 
be sure you come yourself, if you can halt for a while in such 
a place, and can persuade Pilia to accompany you. For that 
is only fair, and Tulia is anxious that she should come. My 
word ! You have purchased a fine troop ! Your gladiators, 
I am told, fight superbly. If you had chosen to let them out 
you would have cleared your expenses by the last two 
spectacles. But we will talk about this later on. Be sure to 
come, and, as you love me, see about the library slaves. 


To L. LuccEius 

Arpinum (April) 

I HAVE often tried to say to you personally what I am 
about to write, but was prevented by a kind of almost 
clownish bashfulness. Now that I am not in your presence 
I shall speak out more boldly: a letter does not blush, I 
am inflamed with an inconceivably ardent desire, and one, as 
I think, of which I have no reason to be ashamed, that in a 
history written by yoii my name should be conspicuous and 
frequently mentioned with praise. And though you have 
often shewn me that you meant to do so, yet I hope you 
will pardon my impatience. For the style of your compo- 
sition, though I had always entertained the highest expecta- 



tions of it, has yet surpassed my hopes, and has taken such a 
hold upon me, or rather has so fired my imagination, that I 
was eager to have my achievements as quickly as possible 
put on record in your history. For it is not only the thought 
of being spoken of by future ages that makes me snatch at 
what seems a hope of immortality, but it is also the desire of 
fully enjoying in my lifetime an authoritative expression 
of your judgment, or a token of your kindness for me, or the 
charm of your genius. Not, however, that while thus writing 
I am unaware under what heavy burdens you are labouring 
in the portion of history you have undertaken, and by this 
time have begun to write. But because I saw that your his- 
tory of the Italian and Civil Wars was now all but finished, 
and because also you told me that you were already em- 
barking upon the remaining portions of your work, I de- 
termined not to lose my chance for the want of suggesting 
to you to consider whether you preferred to weave your ac- 
count of me into the main context of your history, or 
whether, as many Greek writers have done — Callisthenes, 
the Phocian War; Timseus, the war of Pyrrhus; Polybius, 
that of Numantia; all of whom separated the wars I have 
named from their main narratives — you would, like them, 
separate the civil conspiracy from public and external wars. 
For my part, I do not see that it matters much to my reputa- 
tion, but it does somewhat concern my impatience, that you 
should not wait till you come to the proper place, but should 
at once anticipate the discussion of that question as a whole 
and the history of that epoch. And at the same time, if your 
whole thoughts are engaged on one incident and one person, 
I can see in imagination how much fuller your material will 
be, and how much more elaborately worked out. I am quite 
aware, however, what little modesty I display, first, in im- 
posing on you so heavy a burden ( for your engagements may 
well prevent your compliance with my request), and in the 
second place, in asking you to shew me off to advantage. 
What if those transactions are not in your judgment so very 
deserving of commendation? Yet, after all, a man who has 
once passed the border-line of modesty had better put a bold 
face on it and be frankly impudent. And so I again and 
again ask you outright, both to praise those actions of mine in 


warmer terms than you perhaps feel, and in that respect 
to neglect the laws of history. I ask you, too, in regard to 
the personal predilection, on which you wrote in a certain 
introductory chapter in the most gratifying and explicit 
terms — and by which you shew that you were as incapable 
of being diverted as Xenophon's Hercules by Pleasure — not 
to go against it, but to yield to your affection for me a little 
more than truth shall justify. But if I can induce you to un- 
dertake this, you will have, I am persuaded, matter worthy 
of your genius and your wealth of language. For from 
the beginning of the conspiracy to my return from exile 
it appears to me that a moderate-sized monograph might be 
composed, in which you will, on the one hand, be able to 
utilize your special knowledge of civil disturbances, either in 
unravelling the causes of the revolution or in proposing 
remedies for evils, blaming meanwhile what you think de- 
serves denunciation, and establishing the righteousness of 
what you approve by explaining the principles on which they 
rest: and on the other hand, if you think it right to be more 
outspoken (as you generally do), you will bring out the 
perfidy, intrigues, and treachery of many people towards 
me. For my vicissitudes will supply you in your composition 
with much variety, which has in itself a kind of charm, 
capable of taking a strong hold on the imagination of readers, 
when you are the writer. For nothing is better fitted to inter- 
est a reader than variety of circumstance and vicissitudes 
of fortune, which, though the reverse of welcome to us in 
actual experience, will make very pleasant reading: for the 
untroubled recollection of a past sorrow has a charm of its 
own. To the rest of the world, indeed, who have had no 
trouble themselves, and who look upon the misfortunes of 
others without any suffering of their own, the feeling of pity 
is itself a source of pleasure. For what man of us is not de- 
lighted, though feeling a certain compassion too, with the 
death-scene of Epaminondas at Mantinea? He, you know, 
did not allow the dart to be drawn from his body until he had 
been told, in answer to his question, that his shield was safe, 
so that in spite of the agony of his wound he died calmly and 
with glory. Whose interest is not roused and sustained by 
the banishment and return of Themistocles ? Truly the mere 


chronological record of the annals has very little charm for 
us — little more than the entries in the fasti: but the doubtful 
and varied fortunes of a man, frequently of eminent charac- 
ter, involve feelings of wonder, suspense, joy, sorrow, hope, 
fear: if these fortunes are crowned with a glorious death, 
the imagination is satisfied with the most fascinating delight 
which reading can give. * Therefore it will be more in ac- 
cordance with my wishes if you come to the resolution to 
separate from the main body of your narrative, in which you 
embrace a continuance history of events, what I may call 
the drama of my actions and fortunes : for it includes varied 
acts, and shifting scenes both of policy and circumstance. J 
Nor am I afraid of appearing to lay snares for your favour 
by flattering suggestions, when I declare that I desire to be 
complimented and mentioned with praise by you above all 
other writers. For you are not the man to be ignorant of 
your own powers, or not to be sure that those who withhold 
their admiration of you are more to be accounted jealous, 
than those who praise you flatterers. Nor, again, am I so 
senseless as to wish to be consecrated to an eternity of fame 
by one who, in so consecrating me, does not also gain for 
himself the glory which rightfully belongs to genius. For the 
famous Alexander himself did not wish to be painted by 
Apelles, and to have his statue made by Lysippus above all 
others, merely from personal favour to them, but because he 
thought that their art would be a glory at once to them and 
to himself. And, indeed, those artists used to make images 
of the person known to strangers : but if such had never ex- 
isted, illustrious men would yet be no less illustrious. The 
Spartan Agesilaus, who would not allow a portrait of him- 
self to be painted or a statue made, deserves to be quoted as 
an example quite as much as those who have taken trouble 
about such representations: for a single pamphlet of Xeno- 
phon's in praise of that king has proved much more effective 
than all the portraits and statues of them all. And, more- 
over, it will more redound to my present exultation and the 
honour of my memory to have found my way into your his- 
tory, than if I had done so into that of others, in this, that 
I shall profit not only by the genius of the writer — as Timo- 
leon did by that of Timseus, Themistocles by that of He- 


rodotus — but also by the authority of a man of a most illus- 
trious and well-established character, and one well known 
and of the first repute for his conduct in the most important 
and weighty matters of state; so that I shall seem to have 
gained not only the fame which Alexander on his visit to 
Sigeum said had been bestowed on Achilles by Homer, but 
also the weighty testimony of a great and illustrious man. 
For I like that saying of Hector in Naevius, who not only re- 
joices that he is "praised," but adds, "and by one who has 
himself been praised.". But if I fail to obtain my request 
from you, which is equivalent to saying, if you are by some 
means prevented — for I hold it to be out of the question that 
you would refuse a request of mine — I shall perhaps be 
forced to do what certain persons have often found fault 
with, write my own panegyric, a thing, after all, which has a 
precedent of many illustrious men. But it will not escape 
your notice that there are the following drawbacks in a com- 
position of that sort: men are bound, when writing of them- 
selves, both to speak with greater reserve of what is praise- 
worthy, and to omit what calls for blame. Added to which 
such writing carries less conviction, less weight ; many people, 
in fine, carp at it, and say that the heralds at the public 
games are more modest, far after having placed garlands 
on the other recipients and proclaimed their names in a loud 
voice, when thei~ own turn comes to be presented with a gar- 
land before the^ames break up, they call in the services of 
another herald, that they may not declare themselves victors 
with their own voice. I wish to avoid all this, and, if you 
undertake my cause, I shall avoid it : and, accordingly, I ask 
you this favour. But why, you may well ask, when you have 
already often assured me that you intended to record in your 
book with the utmost minuteness the policy and events of 
my consulship, do I now make this request to you with such 
earnestness and in so many words? The reason is to be 
found in that burning desire, of which I spoke at the be- 
ginning of my letter, for something prompt: because I am 
in a flutter of impatience, both that men should learn what I 
am from your book, while I am still alive, and that I may 
myself in my lifetime have the full enjoyment of my little 
bit of glory. What you intend doing on this subject I should 



like you to write me word, if not troublesome to you. For if 
you do undertake the subject, I will put together some notes 
of all occurrences : but if you put me off to some future time, 
I will talk the matter over with you. Meanwhile, do not 
relax your efforts, and thoroughly polish" what you have 
already on the stocks, and — continue to love me. 


To M. Fadius Gallus 

Rome (May) 

I had only just arrived from Arpinum when your letter 
was delivered to me ; and from the same bearer I received a 
letter from Avianius, in which there was this most liberal 
offer, that when he came to Rome he would enter my debt 
to him on whatever day I chose. Pray put yourself in my 
place: is it consistent with your modesty or mine, first to 
prefer a request as to the day, and then to ask more than a 
year's credit? But, my dear Gallus, everything would have 
been easy, if you had bought the things I wanted, and only 
up to the price that I wished. However, the purchases which, 
according to your letter, you have made shall not only be 
ratified by me, but with gratitude besides : for I fully under- 
stand that you have displayed zeal and affection in purchas- 
ing (because you thought them worthy of me) things which 
pleased yourself — a man, as I have ever thought, of the most 
fastidious judgment in all matters of taste. Still, I should 
like Damasippus to abide by his decision: for there is abso- 
lutely none of those purchases that I care to have. But you, 
being unacquainted with my habits, have bought four or five 
of your selection at a price at which I do not value any 
statues in the world. You compare your Bacchse with Metel- 
lus's Muses. Where is the likeness ? To begin with, I should 
never have considered the Muses worth all that money, and 
I think all the Muses would have approved my judgment: 
still, it would have been appropriate to a library, and in 
harmony with my pursuits. But Bacchse ! What place is 
there in my house for them? But, you will say, they are 


pretty. I know them very well and have often seem them. 
I would have commissioned you definitely in the case of 
statues known to me, if I had decided on them. The sort of 
statues that I am accustomed to buy are such as may adorn a 
place in a palcestra after the fashion of gymnasia. What, 
again, have I, the promoter of peace, to do with a statue of 
Mars ? I am glad there was not a statue of Saturn also : for 
I should have thought these two statues had brought me 
debt! I should have preferred some representation of 
Mercury: I might then, I suppose, have made a more 
favourable bargain with Arrianus. You say you meant the 
table-stand for yourself; well, if you like it, keep it. But if 
you have changed your mind I will, of course, have it. For 
the money you have laid out, indeed, I would rather have 
purchased a place of call at Tarracina, to prevent my being 
always a burden on my host. Altogether I perceive that the 
fault is with my freedman, whom I had distinctly commis- 
sioned to purchase certain definite things, and also with 
Junius, whom I think you know, an intimate friend of 
Avianius. I have constructed some new sitting-rooms in a 
miniature colonnade on my Tusculan property. I want to 
ornament them with pictures : for if I take pleasure in any- 
thing of that sort it is in painting. However, if I am to 
have what you have bought, I should like you to inform me 
where they are, when they are to be fetched, and by what 
kind of conveyance. For if Damasippus doesn't abide by 
his decision, I shall look for some would-be Damasippus, 
even at a loss. 

As to what you say about the house, as I was going out 
of town I intrusted the matter to my daughter Tullia: for 
it was at the very hour of my departure that I got your 
letter. I also discussed the matter with your friend Nicias, 
because he is, as you know, intimate with Cassius. On my 
return, however, before I got your last letter, I asked Tullia 
what she had done. She said that she had approached 
Licinia (though I think Cassius is not very intimate with 
his sister), and that she at once said that she could venture, 
in the absence of her husband (Dexius is gone to Spain), 
to change houses without his being there and knowing about 
it. I am much gratified that you should value association 



vith me and my domestic life so highly, as, in the first place, 
to take a house which would enable you to live not only near 
me, but absolutely with me, and, in the second place, to be 
in such a hurry to make this change of residence. But, 
upon my life, I do not yield to you in eagerness for that 
arrangement. So I will try every means in my power. For 
I see the advantage to myself, and, indeed, the advantages 
to us both. If I succeed in doing anything, I will let you 
know. Mind you also write me word back on everything, 
and let me know, if you please, when I am to expect you. 


To M. Marius (At Cumje) 
Rome (October?) 
If some bodily pain or weakness of health has prevented 
your coming to the games, I put it down to fortune rather 
than your own wisdom : but if you have made up your mind 
that these things which the rest of the world admires are 
only worthy of contempt, and, though your health would 
have allowed of it, you yet were unwilling to come, then I 
rejoice at both facts — that you were free from bodily pain, 
arid that you had the sound sense to disdain what others 
causelessly admire. Only I hope that some fruit of your 
leisure may be forthcoming, a leisure, indeed, which you 
had a splendid opportunity of enjoying to the full, seeing 
that you were left almost alone in your lovely country. For 
I doubt not that in that study of yours, from which you have 
opened a window into the Stabian waters of the bay, and 
obtained a view of Misenum, you have spent the morning 
hours of those days in light reading, while those who left 
you there were watching the ordinary farces half asleep. 
The remaining parts of the day, too, you spent in the 
pleasures which you had yourself arranged to suit your own 
taste, while we had to endure whatever had met with the 
approval of Spurius Msecius. On the whole, if you care to 
know, the games were most splendid, but not to your taste. 
I judge from my own. For, to begin with, as a special 


honour to the occasion, those actors had come back to the 
stage who, I thought, had left it for their own. Indeed, your 
favourite, my friend yEsop, was in such a state no one could 
say a word against his retiring from the profession. On 
beginning to recite the oath his voice failed him at the words 
" If I knowingly deceive." Why should I go on with the 
story? You know all about the rest of the games, which 
hadn't even that amount of charm which games on a moderate 
scale generally have: for the spectacle was so elaborate as 
to leave no room for cheerful enjoyment, and I think you 
need feel no regret at having missed it. For what is the 
pleasure of a train of six hundred mules in the " Clytem- 
nestra," or three thousand bowls in the " Trojan Horse," or 
gay-coloured armour of infantry and cavalry in some battle? 
These things roused the admiration of the vulgar; to you 
they would have brought no delight. But if during those 
days you listened to your reader Protogenes, so long at least 
as he read anything rather than my speeches, surely you had 
far greater pleasure than any one of us. For I don't suppose 
you wanted to see Greek or Oscan plays, especially as you 
can see Oscan farces in your senate-house over there, while 
you are so far from liking Greeks, that you generally won't 
even go along the Greek road to your villa. Why, again, 
should I suppose you to care about missing the athletes, since 
you disdained the gladiators ? in which even Pompey himself 
confesses that he lost his trouble and his pains. There 
remain the two wild-beast hunts, lasting five days, mag- 
nificent — nobody denies it — and yet, what pleasure can it be 
to a man of refinement, when either a weak man is torn by 
an extremely powerful animal, or a splendid animal is trans- 
fixed by a hunting spear? Things which, after all, if worth 
seeing, you have often seen before; nor did I, who was 
present at the games, see anything the least new. The last 
day was that of the elephants, on which there was a great 
deal of astonishment on the part of the vulgar crowd, but 
no pleasure whatever. Nay, there was even a certain feeling 
of compassion aroused by it, and a kind of belief created 
that that animal has something in common with mankind. 
However, for my part, during this day, while the theatrical 
exhibitions were on, lest by chance you should think me too 


blessed, I almost split my lungs in defending your friend 
Cminius Gallus. But if the people were as indulgent to me 
as *^hey were to .(Esop, I would, by heaven, have been glad 
to toandon my profession and live with you and others like 
us. The fact is I was tired of it before, even when both 
age and ambition stirred me on, and when I could also 
decline any defence that I didn't like; but now, with things 
in the state that they are, there is no life worth having. 
For, on the one hand, I expect no profit of my labour; and, 
on the other, I am sometimes forced to defend men who have 
been no friends to me, at the request of those to whom I am 
under obligations, f Accordingly, I am on the look-out for 
every excuse for at last managing my life according to my 
own taste, and I loudly applaud and vehemently approve both 
you and your retired plan of life: and as to your infrequent 
appearances among us, I am the more resigned to that be- 
cause, were you in Rome, I should be prevented from enjoy- 
ing the charm of your society, and so would you of mine, if 
I have any, by the overpowering nature of my engagements ; 
from which, if I get any relief — for entire release I don't ex- 
pect — I will give even you, who have been studying nothing 
else for many years, some hints as to what it is to live a life 
of cultivated enjoyment. ''^Only be careful to nurse your weak 
health and to continue your present care of it, so that you 
may be able to visit my country houses and make excursions 
with me in my litter. I have written you a longer letter than 
usual, from superabundance, not of leisure, but of affection, 
because, if you remember, you asked me in one of your let- 
ters to write you something to prevent you feeling sorry at 
having missed the games. And if I have succeeded in that, I 
am glad : if not, I yet console myself with this reflexion, that 
in future you will both come to the games and come to see 
me, and will not leave your hope of enjoyment dependent on 
my letters. 



To His Brother Quintus (In the Country) 

Rome (February) 

Your note by its strong language has drawn out this letter. 
For as to what actually occurred on the day of your start, it 
supplied me with absolutely no subject for writing. But as 
when we are together we are never at a loss for something 
to say, so ought our letters at times to digress into loose 
chat. Well then, to begin, the liberty of the Tenedians has 
received short shrift, no one speaking for them except my- 
self, Bibulus, Calidius, and Favonius. A complimentary ref- 
erence to you was made by the legates from Magnesia and 
Sipylum, they saying that you were the man who alone 
had resisted the demand of L. Sestius Pansa. On the re- 
maining days of this business in the senate, if anything occurs 
which you ought to know, or even if there is nothing, I will 
write you something every day. On the 12th I will not fail 
you or Pomponius. The poems of Lucretius are as you say — 
with many flashes of genius, yet very technical. But when 
you return, ... if you succeed in reading the Empedoclea 
of Sallustius, I shall regard you as a hero, yet scarcely 


To His Brother Quintus (In Britain) 
Arpinum and Rome, 28 September 

After extraordinary hot weather — I never remember 
greater heat — I have refreshed myself at Arpinum, and en- 
joyed the extreme loveliness of the river during the days of 
the games, having left my tribesmen under the charge of 
Philotimus. I was at Arcanum on the loth of September. 
There I found Mescidius and Philoxenus, and saw the water, 
for which they were making a course not far from your villa, 
running quite nicely, especially considering the extreme 
drought, and they said they were going to collect it in much 


greater abundance. Everything is right with Herus. In your 
Mahilian property I came across Diphilus outdoing himself 
in dilatoriness. Still, he had nothing left to construct, except 
baths, and a promenade, and an aviary. I liked that villa 
very much, because its paved colonnade gives it an air of very 
great dignity. I never appreciated this till now that the 
colonnade itself has been all laid open, and the columns have 
been polished. It all depends — and this I will look to — upon 
the stuccoing being prettily done. The pavements seemed to 
be being well laid. Certain of the ceilings I did not like, and 
ordered them to be changed. As to the place in which they 
say that you write word that a small entrance hall is to be 
built — namely, in the colonnade — I liked it better as it is. For 
I did not think there was space sufficient for an entrance 
hall; nor is it usual to have one, except in those buildings 
which have a larger court; nor could it have bedrooms and 
apartments of that kind attached to it. As it is, from the 
very beauty of its arched roof, it will serve as an admirable 
summer room. However, if you think differently, write back 
word as soon as possible. In the bath I have moved the hot 
chamber to the other corner of the dressing-room, because it 
was so placed that its steampipe was immediately under the 
bedrooms. A fair-sized bed-room and a lofty winter one I 
admired very much, for they were both spacious and well- 
situated — on the side of the promenade nearest to the bath. 
Diphilus had placed the columns out of the perpendicular, 
and not opposite each other. These, of course, he shall take 
down; he will learn some day to use the plumb-line and 
measure. On the whole, I hope Diphilus's work will be 
completed in a few months : for Caesius, who was with me at 
the time, keeps a very sharp look-out upon him. 

Thence I started straight along the via Vitularia to your 
Fufidianum, the estate which we bought for you a few weeks 
ago at Arpinum for 100,000 sesterces (about £800). I never 
saw a shadier spot in summer — water springs in many parts 
of it, and abundant into the bargain. In short, Caesius 
thought that you would easily irrigate fifty iugera of the 
meadow land. For my part, I can assure you of this, which 
is more in my line, that you will have a villa marvellously 
pleasant, with the addition of a fish-pond, spouting fountains, 


a palcBstra, and a shrubbery. I am told that you wish to 
keep this Bovillae estate. You will determine as you think 
good. Calvus said that, even if the control of the water 
were taken from you, and the right of drawing it off were 
established by the vendor, and thus an easement were im- 
posed on that property, we could yet maintain the price in 
case we wish to sell. He said that he had agreed with you 
to do the work at three sesterces a foot, and that he had 
stepped it, and made it three miles. It seemed to me more. 
But I will guarantee that the money could nowhere be bet- 
ter laid out. I had sent for Cillo from Venafrum, but on 
that very day four of his fellow servants and apprentices 
had been crushed by the falling in of a tunnel at Venafrum. 
On the 13th of September I was at Laterium. I examined 
the road, which appeared to me to be so good as to seem 
almost like a high road, except a hundred and fifty paces — 
for I measured it myself from the little bridge at the temple 
of Furina, in the direction of Satricum. There they had put 
down dust, not gravel (this shall be changed), and that part 
of the road is a very steep incline. But I understood that it 
could not be taken in any other direction, particularly as you 
did not wish it to go through the property of Locusta or 
Varro. The latter alone had made the road very well where 
it skirted his own property. Locusta hadn't touched it; but 
1 will call on him at Rome, and think I shall be able to stir 
him up, and at the same time I think I shall ask M. Tarus, 
who is now at Rome, and whom I am told promised to allow 
you to do so, about making a watercourse through his prop- 
erty. I much approved of your steward Nicephorius, and I 
asked him what orders you had given about that small build- 
ing at Laterium, about which you spoke to me. He told me 
in answer that he had himself contracted to do the work 
for sixteen sestertia (about £128), but that you had after- 
wards made many additions to the work, but nothing to the 
price, and that he had therefore given it up. I quite approve, 
by Hercules, of your making the additions you had deter- 
mined upon ; although the villa as it stands seems to have the 
air of a philosopher, meant to rebuke the extravagance of 
other villas. Yet, after all, that addition will be pleasing. I 
praised your landscape gardener: he has so covered every- 


thing with ivy, both the foundation-wall of the villa and the 
spaces between the columns of the walk, that, upon my word, 
those Greek statues seemed to be engaged in fancy garden- 
ing, and to be shewing off the ivy. Finally, nothing can be 
cooler or more mossy than the dressing-room of the bath. 
That is about all I have to say about country matters. The 
gardener, indeed, as well as Philotimus and Cincius are press- 
ing on the ornamentation of your town house ; but I also often 
look in upon it myself, as I can do without difficulty. Where- 
fore don't be at all anxious about that. 

As to your always asking me about your son, of course I 
" excuse you " ; but I must ask you to " excuse " me also, for 
I don't allow that you love him more than I do. And oh 
that he had been with me these last few days at Arpinum, as 
he had himself set his heart on being, and as I had no less 
done ! As to Pomponia, please write and say that, when I 
go out of town anywhere, she is to come with me and bring 
the boy. I'll do wonders with him, if I get him to myself 
when I am at leisure : for at Rome there is no time to breathe. 
You know I formerly promised to do so for nothing. What 
do you expect with such a reward as you promise me? I 
now come to your letters which I received in several packets 
when I was at Arpinum. For I received three from you in 
one day, and, indeed, as it seemed, despatched by you at the 
same time — one of considerable length, in which your first 
point was that my letter to you was dated earlier than that 
to Caesar. Oppius at times cannot help this: the reason is 
that, having settled to send letter-carriers, and having re- 
ceived a letter from me, he is hindered by something turn- 
ing up, and obliged to despatch them later than he had in-* 
tended; and I don't take the trouble to have the day altered 
on a letter which I have once handed to him. You write 
about Caesar's extreme affection for us. This affection you 
must on your part keep warm, and I for mine will endeavour 
to increase it by every means in my power. About Pompey, 
I am carefully acting, and shall continue to act, as you 
advise. That my permission to you to stay longer is a wel- 
come one, though I grieve at your absence and miss you 
exceedingly, I am yet partly glad. What you can be think- 
ing of in sending for such people as Hippodamus and some 


others, I do not understand. There is not one of those fel- 
lows that won't expect a present from you equal to a sub- 
urban estate. However, there is no reason for your classing 
my friend Trebatius with them. I sent him to Caesar, and 
Caesar has done all I expected. If he has not done quite 
what he expected himself, I am not bound to make it up to 
him, and I in like manner free and absolve you from all 
claims on his part. Your remark, that you are a greater 
favourite with Caesar every day, is a source of undying sat- 
isfaction to me. As to Balbus, who, as you say, promotes 
that state of things, he is the apple of my eye. I am indeed 
glad that you and my friend Trebonius like each other. As 
to what you say about the military tribuneship, I, indeed, 
asked for it definitely for Curtius, and Caesar wrote back 
definitely to say that there was one at Curtius's service, and 
chided me for my modesty in making the request. If I 
have asked one for anyone else — as I told Oppius to write 
and tell Caesar — I shall not be at all annoyed by a refusal, 
since those who pester me for letters are annoyed at a re- 
fusal from me. I like Curtius, as I have told him, not only 
because you asked me to do so, but from the character you 
gave of him; for from your letter I have gathered the zeal 
he shewed for my restoration. As for the British expedi- 
tion, I conclude from your letter that we have no occasion 
either for fear or exultation. As to public affairs, about 
which you wish Tiro to write to you, I have written to you 
hitherto somewhat more carelessly than usual, because I 
knew that all events, small or great, were reported to Caesar. 
I have now answered your longest letter. 

Now hear what I have to say to your small one. The 
first point is about Clodius's letter to Caesar. In that matter 
I approve of Caesar's policy, in not having given way to 
your request so far as to write a single word to that Fury. 
The next thing is about the speech of Calventius " Marius." 
I am surprised at your saying that you think I ought to an- 
swer it, particularly as, while no one is likely to read that 
speech, unless I write an answer to it, every schoolboy 
learns mine against him as an exercise. My books, all of 
which you are expecting, I have begun, but I cannot finish 
them for some days yet. The speeches for Scaurus and 


Plancius which you clamour for I have finished. The poem 
to Caesar, which I had begun, I have cut short. I will write 
what you ask me for, since your poetic springs are running 
dry, as soon as I have time. 

Now for the third letter. It is very pleasant and welcome 
news to hear from you that Balbus is soon coming to Rome, 
and so well accompanied! and will stay with me continu- 
ously till the 15th of May. As to your exhorting me in the 
same letter, as in many previous ones, to ambition and 
labour, I shall, of course, do as you say: but when am I to 
enjoy any real life? 

Your fourth letter reached me on the 13th of September, 
dated on the loth of August from Britain. In it there was 
nothing new except about your Erigona, and if I get that 
from Oppius I will write and tell you what I think of it. I 
have no doubt I shall like it. Oh yes ! I had almost for- 
gotten to remark as to the man who, you say in your letter, 
had written to Caesar about the applause given to Milo — 
I am not unwilling that Caesar should think that it was as 
warm as possible. And in point of fact it was so, and yet 
that applause, which is given to him, seems in a certain 
sense to be given to me. 

I have also received a very old letter, but which was late 
in coming into my hands, in which you remind me about the 
temple of Tellus and the colonnade of Catulus. Both of these 
matters are being actively carried out. At the temple of 
Tellus I have even got your statue placed. So, again, as to 
your reminder about a suburban villa and gardens, I was 
never very keen for one, and now my town house has all the 
charm of such a pleasure-ground. On my arrival in Rome on 
the i8th of September I found the roof on your house fin- 
ished: the part over the sitting-rooms, which you did not 
wish to have many gables, now slopes gracefully towards 
the roof of the lower colonnade. Our boy, in my absence, 
did not cease working with his rhetoric master. You have no 
reason for being anxious about his education, for you know 
his ability, and I see his application. Everything else I take 
it upon myself to guarantee, with full consciousness that I 
am bound to make it good. 

As yet there are three parties prosecuting Gabinius: first. 


L. Lentulus, son of the Hamen, who has entered a prosecution 
for lese majeste; secondly, Tib. Nero with good names at the 
back of his indictment; thirdly, C. Memmius the tribune in 
conjunction with L. Capito. He came to the walls of the 
city on the 19th of September, undignified and neglected to 
the last degree. But in the present state of the law courts 
I do not venture to be confident of anything. As Cato is 
unwell, he has not yet been formally indicted for extortion. 
Pompey is trying hard to persuade me to be reconciled to 
him, but as yet he has not yet succeeded at all, nor, if I retain 
a shred of liberty, will he succeed. I am very anxious for a 
letter from you. You say that you have been told that I was 
a party to the coalition of the consular candidates — it is a lie. 
The compacts made in that coalition afterwards made public 
by Memmius, were of such a nature that no loyal man ought 
to have been a party to them ; nor at the same time was it 
possible for me to be a party to a coalition from which 
Messalla was excluded, who is thoroughly satisfied with my 
conduct in every particular, as also, I think, is Memmius. To 
Domitius himself I have rendered many services, which he 
desired and asked of me. I have put Scaurus under a 
heavy obligation by my defence of him. It is as yet very 
uncertain both when the elections will be and who will be 

Just as I was folding up this epistle letter-carriers arrived 
from you and Caesar (20th September) after a journey of 
twenty days. How anxious I was ! How painfully I was 
affected by Caesar's most kind letter ! But the kinder it was, 
the more sorrow did his loss occasion me. But to turn to 
your letter. To begin with, I reiterate my approval of your 
staying on, especially as, according to your account, you have 
consulted Caesar on the subject, I wonder that Oppius has 
anything to do with Publius for I advised against it. Farther 
on in your letter you say that I am going to be made legatus 
to Pompey on the 13th of September: I have heard nothing 
about it, and I wrote to Caesar to tell him that neither Vibul- 
lius nor Oppius had delivered his message to Pompey about 
my remaining at home. Why, I know not. However, it was 
I who restrained Oppius from doing so, because it was Vibul- 
lius who should take the leading part in that matter; for 



with him Caesar had communicated personally, with Oppius 
only by letter. I indeed can have no " second thoughts " in 
matters connected with Caesar. He comes next after you and 
our children in my regard, and not much after. I think I act 
in this with deliberate judgment, for I have by this time good 
cause for it, yet warm personal feeling no doubt does influ- 
ence me also. 

Just as I had written these last words — which are by my 
own hand — your boy came in to dine with me, as Pomponia 
was dining out. He gave me your letter to read, which he 
had received shortly before — a truly Aristophanic mixture of 
jest and earnest, with which I was greatly charmed. He gave 
me also your second letter, in which you bid him cling to my 
side as a mentor. How delighted he was with those letters ! 
And so was I. Nothing could be more attractive than that 
boy, nothing more affectionate to me ! — This, to explain its 
being in another handwriting, I dictated to Tiro while at 

Your letter gratified Annalis very much, as shewing that 
you took an active interest in his concerns, and yet assisted 
him with exceedingly candid advice. Publius Servilius the 
elder, from a letter which he said he had received from 
Cassar, declares himself highly obliged to you for having 
spoken with the greatest kindness and earnestness of his 
devotion to Caesar. After my return to Rome from Arpinum 
I was told that Hippodamus had started to join you. I 
cannot say that I was surprised at his having acted so dis- 
courteously as to start to join you without a letter from me: 
I only say that, that I was annoyed. For I had long re- 
solved, from an expression in your letter, that if I had any- 
thing I wished conveyed to you with more than usual care, I 
should give it to him: for, in truth, into a letter like this, 
which I send you in an ordinary way, I usually put nothing 
that, if it fell into certain hands, might be a source of an- 
noyance. I reserve myself for Minucius and Salvius and 
Labeo. Labeo will either be starting late or will stay here 
altogether. Hippodamus did not even ask me whether he 
could do anything for me. T. Penarius sends me a kind 
letter about you: says that he is exceedingly charmed with 
your literary pursuits, conversation, and above all by your 


dinners. He was always a favourite of mine, and I see a 
good deal of his brother. Wherefore continue, as you have 
begun, to admit the young man to your intimacy. 

From the fact of this letter having been in hand during 
many days, owing to the delay of the letter-carriers, I have 
jotted down in it many various things at odd times, as, for 
instance, the following: Titus Anicius has mentioned to me 
more tjhan once that he would not hesitate to buy a suburban 
property for you, if he found one. In these remarks of his I 
find two things surprising: first, that when you write to him 
about buying a suburban property, you not only don't write 
to me to that effect, but write even in a contrary sense ; and, 
secondly, that in writing to him you totally forget his letters 
which you shewed me at Tusculum, and as totally the rule 
of Epicharmus, " Notice how he has treated another " : in 
fact, that you have quite forgotten, as I think, the lesson 
conveyed by the expression of his face, his conversation, and 
his spirit. But this is your concern. As to a suburban prop- 
erty, be sure to let me know your wishes, and at the same 
time take care that that fellow doesn't get you into trouble. 
What else have I to say? Anything? Yes, there is this: 
Gabinius entered the city by night on the 27th of September, 
and to-day, at two o'clock, when he ought to have appeared 
on his trial for lese majeste, in accordance with the edict 
of C. Alfius, he was all but crushed to the earth by a great 
and unanimous demonstration of the popular hatred. Noth- 
ing could exceed his humiliating position. However, Piso 
comes next to him. So I think of introducing a marvellous 
episode into my second book — Apollo declaring in the coun- 
cil of the gods what sort of return that of the two com- 
manders was to be, one of whom had lost, and the other 
sold his army. From Britain I have a letter of Caesar's 
dated the ist of September, which reached me on the 27th, 
satisfactory enough as far as the British expedition is con- 
cerned, in which, to prevent my wondering at not getting one 
from you, he tells me that you were not with him when he 
reached the coast. To that letter I made no reply, not even 
a formal congratulation, on account of his mourning. Many, 
many wishes, dear brother, for your health. 



To P. Lentulus Spinther (in Cilicia) 

Rome (October) 

M. Cicero desires his warmest regards to P. Lentulus, 
imperator. Your letter was very gratifying to me, from 
which I gathered that you fully appreciated my devotion to 
you: for why use the word kindness, when even the word 
" devotion " itself, with all its solemn and holy associations, 
seems too v/eak to express my obligations to you? As for 
your saying that my services to you are gratefully accepted, 
it is you who in your overflowing affection make things, 
which cannot be omitted without criminal negligence, appear 
deserving of even gratitude. However, my feelings towards 
you would have been much more fully known and con- 
spicuous, if, during all this time that we have been separated, 
we had been together, and together at Rome. For precisely 
in what you declare your intention of doing — what no one is 
more capable of doing, and what I confidently look forward 
to from you — that is to say, in speaking in the senate, and 
in every department of public life and political activity, we 
should together have been in a very strong position (what 
my feelings and position are in regard to politics I will 
explain shortly, and will answer the questions you ask), and 
at any rate I should have found in you a supporter, at once 
most warmly attached and endowed with supreme wisdom, 
while in me you would have found an adviser, perhaps not 
the most unskilful in the world, and at least both faithful and 
devoted to your interests. However, for your own sake, of 
course, I rejoice, as I am bound to do, that you have been 
greeted with the title of imperator, and are holding your pro- 
vince and victorious army after a successful campaign. But 
certainly, if you had been here, you would have enjoyed to a 
fuller extent and more directly the benefit of the services 
which I am bound to render you. Moreover, in taking 
vengeance on those whom you know in some cases to be your 
enemies, because you championed the cause of my recall, in 
others to be jealous of the splendid position and renown 
which that measure brought you, I should have done you 


yeoman's service as your associate. However, that per- 
petual enemy of his own friends, who, in spite of having 
been honoured with the highest compHments on your part, 
has selected you of all people for the object of his impotent 
and enfeebled violence, has saved me the trouble by punish- 
ing himself. For he has made attempts, the disclosure of 
which has left him without a shred, not only of political 
position, but even of freedom of action. And though I 
should have preferred that you should have gained your 
experience in my case alone, rather than in your own also, 
yet in the midst of my regret I am glad that you have learnt 
what the fidelity of mankind is worth, at no great cost to 
yourself, which I learnt at the price of excessive pain. And 
I think that I have now an opportunity presented me, while 
answering the questions you have addressed to me, of also 
explaining my entire position and view. You say in your 
letter that you have been informed that I have become recon- 
ciled to Caesar and Appius, and you add that you have no 
fault to find with that. But you express a wish to know 
what induced me to defend and compliment Vatinius. In 
order to make my explanation plainer I must go a little 
farther back in the statement of my policy and its grounds. 
Well, Lentulus ! At first — after the success of your efforts 
for my recall — I looked upon myself as having been re- 
stored not alone to my friends, but to the Republic also; 
and seeing that I owed you an affection almost surpassing 
belief, and every kind of service, however great and rare, 
that could be bestowed on your person, I thought that to 
the Republic, which had much assisted you in restoring me, 
I at least was bound to entertain the feeling which I had 
in old times shewed merely from the duty incumbent on 
all citizens alike, and not as an obligation incurred by some 
special kindness to myself. That these were my sentiments 
I declared to the senate when you were consul, and you 
had yourself a full view of them in our conversations and 
discussions. Yet from the very first my feelings were hurt 
by many circumstances, when, on your mooting the question 
of the full restoration of my position, I detected the covert 
hatred of some and the equivocal attachment of others. 
For you received no support from either in regard to my 


monuments, or the illegal violence by which, in common 
with my brother, I had been driven from my house; nor, 
by heaven, did they shew the goodwill which I had ex- 
pected in regard to those matters which, though necessary 
to me owing to the shipwreck of my fortune, were yet re- 
garded by me as least valuable — I mean as to indemnifying 
me for my losses by decree of the senate. And though I 
saw all this — for it was not difficult to see — yet their present 
conduct did not afifect me with so much bitterness as what 
they had done for me did with gratitude. And therefore, 
though according to your own assertion and testimony I was 
imder very great obligation to Pompey, and' though I loved 
him not only for his kindness, but also from my own feelings, 
and, so to speak, from my unbroken admiration of him, 
nevertheless, without taking any account of his wishes, I 
abode by all my old opinions in politics. With Pompey 
sitting in court, upon his having entered the city to give 
evidence in favour of Sestius, and when the witness Vatinius 
had asserted that, moved by the good fortune and success 
of Csesar, I had begun to be his friend, I said that I pre- 
ferred the fortune of Bibulus, which he thought a humiUa- 
tion, to the triumphs and victories of everybody else; and 
I said during the examination of the same witness, in an- 
other part of my speech, that the same men had prevented 
Bibulus from leaving his house as had forced me from mine : 
my whole cross-examination, indeed, was nothing but a 
denunciation of his tribuneship ; and in it I spoke throughout 
with the greatest freedom and spirit about violence, neglect 
of omens, grants of royal titles. Nor, indeed, in the support 
of this view isi it only of late that I have spoken: I have 
done so consistently on several occasions in the senate. Nay, 
even in the consulship of Marcellinus and Philippus, on 
the 5th of April the senate voted on my motion that the 
question of the Campanian land should be referred to a full 
meeting of the senate on the 15th of May. Could I more 
decidedly invade the stronghold of his policy, or shew more 
clearly that I forgot my own present interests, and re- 
membered my former political career? On my delivery of 
this proposal a great impression was made on the minds 
not only of those who were bound to have been impressed, 


but also of those of whom I had never expected it. For, 
after this decree had passed in accordance with my motion, 
Ponipey, without shewing the least sign of being offended 
with me, started for Sardinia and Africa, and in the course 
of that journey visited Caesar at Luca. There Csesar com- 
plained a great deal about my motion, for he had already 
seen Crassus at Ravenna also, and had been irritated by 
him against me. It was well known that Pompey was much 
vexed at this, as I was told by others, but learnt most defi- 
nitely from my brother. For when Pompey met him in Sar- 
dinia, a few days after leaving Luca, he said : " You are 
the very man I want to see; nothing could have happened 
more conveniently. Unless you speak very strongly to your 
brother Marcus, you will have to pay up what you guar- 
anteed on his behalf." I need not go on. He grumbled a 
great deal : mentioned his own service to me : recalled what 
he had again and again said to my brother himself about 
the " acts " of Caesar, and what my brother had undertaken 
in regard to me; and called my brother himself to witness 
that what he had done in regard to my recall he had done 
with the consent of Cssar: and asked him to commend to 
me the latter's policy and claims, that I should not attack, 
even if I would not or could not support them. My brother 
having conveyed these remarks to me, and Pompey having, 
nevertheless, sent Vibullius to me with a message, begging 
me not to commit myself on the question of the Campanian 
land till his return, I reconsidered my position and begged 
the state itself, as it were, to allow me, who had suffered 
and done so much for it, to fulfil the duty which gratitude 
to my benefactors and the pledge which my brother had 
given demanded, and to suffer one whom it had ever re- 
garded as an honest citizen to shew himself an honest man. 
Moreover, in regard to all those motions and speeches of 
mine which appeared to be giving offence to Pompey, the 
remarks of a particular set of men, whose names you must 
surely guess, kept on being reported to me; who, while 
in public affairs they were really in sympathy with my policy, 
and had always been so, yet said that they were glad that 
Pompey was dissatisfied with me, and that Csesar would be 
very greatly exasperated against me. This in itself was 


vexatious to me: but much more so was the fact that they 
used, before my very eyes, so to embrace, fondle, make much 
of, and kiss my enemy — mine do I say? rather the enemy 
of the laws, of the law courts, of peace, of his country, of 
all loyal men ! — that they did not indeed rouse my bile, for 
I have utterly lost all that, but imagined they did. In these 
circumstances, having, as far as is possible for human pru- 
dence, thoroughly examined my whole position, and having 
balanced the items of the account, I arrived at a final result 
of all my reflexions, wHich, as well as I can, I will now 
briefly put before you. 

If I had seen the Republic in the hands of bad or prof- 
ligate citizens, as we know happened during the supremacy 
of Cinna, and on some other occasions, I should not under 
the pressure, I don't say of rewards, which are the last 
things to influence me, but even of danger, by which, after 
all, the bravest men are moved, have attached myself to their 
party, not even if their services to me had been of the very 
highest kind. As it is, seeing that the leading statesman 
in the Republic was Pompey, a man who had gained this' 
power and renown by the most eminent services to the state 
and the most glorious achievements, and one of whose 
position I had been a supporter from my youth up, and in 
my praetorship and consulship an active promoter also, and 
seeing that this same statesman had assisted me, in his own 
person by the weight of his influence and the expression of 
his opinion, and, in conjunction with you, by his counsels 
and zeal, and that he regarded my enemy as his own su- 
preme enemy in the state — I did not think that I need fear 
the reproach of inconsistency, if in some of my senatorial 
votes I somewhat changed my standpoint, and contributed 
my zeal to the promotion of the dignity of a most distin- 
guished man, and one to whom I am under the highest 
obligations. In this sentiment I had necessarily to include 
Csesar, as you see, for their policy and position were in- 
separably united. Here I was greatly influenced by two 
things — the old friendship which you know that I and my 
brother Quintus have had with Caesar, and his own kindness 
and liberality, of which we have recently had clear and un- 
mistakable evidence both by his letters and his personal 


attentions. I was also strongly affected by the Republic 
itself, which appeared to me to demand, especially consider- 
ing Caesar's brilliant successes, that there should be no 
quarrel maintained with these men, and indeed to forbid 
it in the strongest manner possible. Moreover, while en- 
tertaining these feelings, I was above all shaken by the 
pledge which Pompey had given for me to Caesar, and my 
brother to Pompey. Besides, I was forced to take into 
consideration the state maxim so divinely expressed by our 
master Plato — " Such as are the chief men in a republic, 
such are ever wont to be the other citizens." I called to 
mind that in my consulship, from the very ist of January, 
such a foundation was laid of encouragement for the senate, 
that no one ought to have been surprised that on the 5th 
of December there was so much spirit and such commanding 
influence in that house. I also remember that when I be- 
came a private citizen up to the consulship of Caesar and 
Bibulus, when the opinions expressed by me had great 
weight in the senate, the feeling among all the loyalists was 
invariable. Afterwards, while you were holding the prov- 
ince of hither Spain with imperium and the Republic had no 
genuine consuls, but mere hucksters of provinces, mere 
slaves and agents of sedition, an accident threw my head 
as an apple of discord into the midst of contending factions 
and civil broils. And in that hour of danger, though a 
unanimity was displayed on the part of the senate that was 
surprising, on the part of all Italy surpassing belief, and of 
all the loyalists unparalleled, in standing forth in my defence, 
I will not say what happened — for the blame attaches to 
many, and is of various shades of turpitude — I will only 
say briefly that it was not the rank and file, but the leaders, 
that played me false. And in this matter, though some 
blame does attach to those who failed to defend me, no less 
attaches to those who abandoned me : and if those who were 
frightened deserve reproach, if there are such, still more 
are those to be blamed who pretended to be frightened. At 
any rate, my policy is justly to be praised for refusing to 
allow my fellow citizens (preserved by me and ardently de- 
siring to preserve me) to be exposed while bereft of leaders 
to armed slaves, and for preferring that it should be made 


manifest how much force there might be in the unanimity 
of the loyalists, if they had been permitted to champion my 
cause before I had fallen, when after that fall they had 
proved strong enough to raise me up again. And the real 
feelings of these men you not only had the penetration to 
see, when bringing forward my case, but the power to en- 
courage and keep alive. In promoting which measure — I 
will not merely not deny, but shall always remember also 
and gladly proclaim it — you found certain men of the 
highest rank more courageous in securing my restoration 
than they had been in preserving me from my fall: and, 
if they had chosen to maintain that frame of mind, they 
would have recovered their own commanding position along 
with my salvation. For when the spirit of the loyalists had 
been renewed by your consulship, and they had been roused 
from their dismay by the extreme firmness and rectitude of 
your official conduct; when, above all, Pompey's support had 
been secured; and when Csesar, too, with all the prestige 
of his brilliant achievements, after being honoured with 
unique and unprecedented marks of distinction and com- 
pliments by the senate, was now supporting the dignity of 
the house, there could have been no opportunity for a dis- 
loyal citizen of outraging the Republic. 

But now notice, I beg, what actually ensued. First of 
all, that intruder upon the women's rites, who had shewn no 
more respect for the Bona Dea than for his three sisters, 
secured immunity by the votes of those men who, when a 
tribune wished by a legal action to exact penalties from a 
seditious citizen by the agency of the loyalists, deprived 
the Republic of what would have been hereafter a most 
splendid precedent for the punishment of sedition. And 
these same persons, in the case of the monument, which was 
not mine, indeed — for it was not erected from the proceeds 
of spoils won by me, and I had nothing to do with it 
beyond giving out the contract for its construction — well, 
they allowed this monument of the senate's to have branded 
upon it the name of a public enemy, and an inscription 
written in blood. That those men wished my safety rouses 
my liveliest gratitude, but I could have wished that they 
had not chosen to take my bare safety into consideration, 

5 — HC IX 


like doctors, but, like trainers, my strength and complexion 
also! As it is, just as Apelles perfected the head and bust 
of his Venus with the most elaborate art, but left the rest of 
her body in the rough, so certain persons only took pains 
with my head, and left the rest of my body unfinished and 
unworked. Yet in this matter I have falsified the expec- 
tation, not only of the jealous, but also of the downright hos- 
tile, who formerly conceived a wrong opinion from the case 
of Quintus Metellus, son of Lucius — the most energetic and 
gallant man in the world, and in my opinion of surpassing 
courage and firmness — who, people say, was much cast down 
and dispirited after his return from exile. Now, in the first 
place, we are asked to believe that a man who accepted exile 
with entire willingness and remarkable cheerfulness, and 
never took any pains- at all to get recalled, was crushed in 
spirit about an affair in which he had shewn more firmness 
and constancy than anyone else, even than the pre-eminent 
M. Scaurus himself! But, again, the account they had re- 
ceived, or rather the conjectures they were indulging in 
about him, they now transferred to me, imagining that I 
should be more than usually broken in spirit: whereas, in 
fact, the Republic was inspiring me with even greater 
courage than I had ever had before, by making it plain that 
I was the one citizen it could not do without; and by the 
fact that while a bill proposed by only one tribune had re- 
called Metellus, the whole state had joined as one man in 
recalling me — the senate leading the way, the whole of Italy 
following after, eight of the tribunes publishing the bill, a 
consul putting the question at the centuriate assembly, all 
orders and individuals pressing it on, in fact, with all the 
forces at its command. Nor is it the case that I afterwards 
made any pretension, or am making any at this day, which 
can justly offend anyone, even the most malevolent: my 
only effort is that I may not fail either my friends or those 
more remotely connected with me in either active service, 
or counsel, or personal exertion. This course of life per- 
haps offends those who fix their eyes on the glitter and show 
of my professional position, but are unable to appreciate 
its anxieties and laboriousness. 

Again, they make no concealment of their dissatisfaction 


on the ground that in the speeches which I make in the 
senate in praise of Caesar I am departing from my old policy. 
But while giving explanations on the points which I put 
before you a short time ago, I will not keep till the last the 
following, which I have already touched upon. You will 
not find, my dear Lentulus, the sentiments of the loyalists 
the same as you left them — strengthened by my consulship, 
suffering relapse at intervals afterwards, crushed down be- 
fore your consulship, revived by you: they have now been 
abandoned by those whose duty it was to have maintained 
them : and this fact they, who in the old state of things as it 
existed in our day used to be called Optimates, not only 
declare by look and expression of countenance, by which a 
false pretence is easiest supported, but have proved again 
and again by their actual sympathies and votes. Accord- 
ingly, the entire view and aim of wise citizens, such as I 
wish both to be and to be reckoned, must needs have under- 
gone a change. For that is the maxim of that same great 
Plato, whom I emphatically regard as my master: "Main- 
tain a political controversy only so far as you can convince 
your fellow citizens of its justice: never offer violence to 
parent or fatherland." He, it is true, alleges this as his 
motive for having abstained from politics, because, having 
found the Athenian people all but in its dotage, and seeing 
that it could not be ruled by persuasion, or by anything short 
of compulsion, while he doubted the possibility of persuasion, 
he looked upon compulsion as criminal. My position was 
different in this: as the people was not in its dotage, nor 
the question of engaging in politics still an open one for 
me, I was bound hand and foot. Yet I rejoiced that I was 
permitted in one and the same cause to support a policy at 
once advantageous to myself and acceptable to every loyalist. 
An additional motive was Caesar's memorable and almost 
superhuman kindness to myself and my brother, who thus 
would have deserved my support whatever he undertook; 
while as it is, considering his great success and his brilliant 
victories, he would seem, even if he had not behaved to me 
as he has, to claim a panegyric from me. For I would have 
you believe that, putting you aside, who were the authors of 
my recall, there is no one by whose good offices I would 


not only confess, but would even rejoice, to have been so 
much bound. 

Having explained this matter to you, the questions you 
ask about Vatinius and Crassus are easy to answer. For, 
since you remark about Appius, as about Caesar, "that you 
have no fault to find," I can only say that I am glad you 
approve my policy. But as to Vatinius, in the first place 
there had been in the interval a reconciliation effected 
through Pompey, immediately after his election to the 
prsetorship, though I had, it is true, impugned his candida- 
ture in some very strong speeches in the senate, and yet not 
so much for the sake of attacking him as of defending and 
complimenting Cato. Again, later on, there followed a very 
pressing request from Caesar that I should undertake his 
defence. But my reason for testifying to his character I 
beg you will not ask, either in the case of this defendant or 
of others, lest I retaliate by asking you the same question 
when you come home: though I can do so even before you 
return: for remember for whom you sent a certificate of 
character from the ends of the earth. However, don't be 
afraid, for those same persons are praised by myself, and 
will continue to be so. Yet, after all, there was also the 
motive spurring me on to undertake his defence, of which, 
during the trial, when I appeared for him, I remarked that 
I was doing just what the parasite in the Eimuchus advised 
the captain to do: 

"As oft as she names Phaedria, y&u retort 
With Pamphila. If ever she suggest, 
'Do let us have in Phaedria to our revel :' 
Quoth you, 'And let us call on Pamphila 
To sing a song.' If she shall praise his looks, 
Do you praise hers to match them : and, in fine, 
Give tit for tat, that you may sting her soul." 

So I asked the jurors, since certain men of high rank, who, 
had also done me very great favours, were much enamoured 
of my enemy, and often under my very eyes in the senate 
now took him aside in grave consultation, now embraced him 
familiarly and cheerfully — since these men had their Publius, 
to grant me another Publius, in whose person I might repay 
a slight attack by a moderate retort. And, indeed, I am 
often as good as my word, with the applause of gods and 


men. So much for Vatinius. Now about Crassus. I thought 
I had done much to secure his gratitude in having, for the 
sake of the general harmony, wiped out by a kind of volun- 
tary act of oblivion all his very serious injuries, when he 
suddenly undertook the defence of Gabinius, whom only a 
few days before he had attacked with the greatest bitterness. 
Nevertheless, I should have borne that, if he had done so 
without casting any offensive reflexions on me. But on 
his attacking me, though I was only arguing and not in- 
veighing" against him, I fired up not only, I think, with the 
passion of the moment — for that perhaps would not have 
been so hot — but the smothered wrath at his many wrongs 
to me, of which I thought I had wholly got rid, having, 
unconsciously to myself, lingered in my soul, it suddenly 
shewed itself in full force. And it was at this precise time 
that certain persons (the same whom I frequently indicate 
by a sign or hint), while declaring that they had much en- 
joyed my outspoken style, and had never before fully realized 
that I was restored to the Republic in all my old character, 
and when my conduct of that controversy had gained me 
much credit outside the house also, began saying that they 
were glad both that he was now my enemy, and that those 
who were involved with him would never be my friends. So 
when their ill-natured remarks were reported to me by men 
of most respectable character, and when Pompey pressed 
me as he had never done before to be reconciled to Crassus, 
and Csesar wrote to say that he was exceedingly grieved at 
that quarrel, I took into consideration not only my circum- 
stances, but my natural inclination: and Crassus, that our 
reconciliation might, as it were, be attested to the Roman 
people, started for his province, it might almost be said, from 
my hearth. For he himself named a day and dined with me 
in the suburban villa of my son-in-law Crassipes. On this 
account, as you say that you have been told, I supported his 
cause in the senate, which I had undertaken on Pompey's 
strong recommendation, as I was bound in honour to do. 

I have now told you with what motives I have sup- 
ported each measure and cause, and what my position is 
in politics as far as I take any part in them: and I would 
wish you to make sure of this — that I should have enter- 


tained the same sentiments, if I had been still perfectly 
uncommitted and free to choose. For I should not have 
thought it right to fight against such overwhelming power, 
nor to destroy the supremacy of the most distinguished citi- 
zens, even if it had been possible; nor, again, should I have 
thought myself bound to abide by the same view, when cir- 
cumstances were changed and the feelings of the loyalists 
altered, but rather to bow to circumstances. For the per- 
sistence in the same view has never been regarded as a merit 
in men eminent for their guidance of the helm of state; 
but as in steering a ship one secret of the art is to run before 
the storm, even if you cannot make the harbour; yet, when 
you can do so by tacking about, it is folly to keep to the 
course you have begun rather than by changing it to arrive 
all the same at the destination you desire: so while we all 
ought in the administration of the state to keep always in 
view the object I have very frequently mentioned, peace 
combined with dignity, we are not bound always to use the 
same language, but to fix our eyes on the same object. 
Wherefore, as I laid down a little while ago, if I had had 
as free a hand as possible in everything, I should yet have 
been no other than I now am in politics. When, moreover, 
I am at once induced to adopt these sentiments by the kind- 
ness of certain persons, and driven to do so by the injuries 
of others^ I am quite content to think and speak about public 
afifairs as I conceive best conduces to the interests both of 
myself and of the Republic. Moreover, I make this declara- 
tion the more openly and frequently, both because my 
brother Quintus is Csesar's legate, and because no word of 
mine, however trivial, to say nothing of any act, in support 
of Caesar has ever transpired, which he has not received with 
such marked gratitude, as to make me look upon myself as 
closely bound to him. Accordingly, I have the advantage 
of his popularity, which you know to be very great, and his 
material resources, which you know to be immense, as 
though they were my own. Nor do I think that I could in 
any other way have frustrated the plots of unprincipled 
persons against me, unless I had now combined with those 
protections, which I have always possessed, the goodwill also 
of the men in power. I should, to the best of my belief, 


have followed this same line of policy even if I had had you 
here. Fojr I well know the reasonableness and soberness of 
your judgment: I know your mind, while warmly attached 
to me, to be without a tinge of malevolence to others, but on 
the contrary as open and candid as it is great and lofty. I 
have seen certain persons conduct themselves towards you as 
you might have seen the same persons conduct themselves 
towards me. The same things that have annoyed me would 
certainly have annoyed you. But whenever I shall have the 
enjoyment of your presence, you will be the wise critic of 
all my plans: you who took thought for my safety will also 
do so for my dignity. Me, indeed, you will have as the 
partner and associate in all your actions, sentiments, wishes 
— in fact, in everything; nor shall I ever in all my life have 
any purpose so steadfastly before me, as that you should 
rejoice more and more warmly every day that you did me 
such eminent service. 

As to your request that I would send you any books I 
have written since your departure, there are some speeches, 
which I will give Menocritus, not so very many, so don't be 
afraid ! I have also written — for I am now rather withdraw- 
ing from oratory and returning to the gentler Muses, which 
now give me greater delight than any others, as they have 
done since my earliest youth — well, then, I have written in 
the Aristotelian style, at least that was my aim, three 
books in the form of a discussion in dialogue "On the 
Orator," which, I think, well be of some service to your 
Lentulus. For they differ a good deal from the current 
maxims, and embrace a discussion on the whole oratorical 
theory of the ancients, both that of Aristotle and Isocrates. 
I have also written in verse three books "On my own 
Times," which I should have sent you some time ago, if I 
had thought they ought to be published — for they are wit- 
nesses, and will be eternal witnesses, of your services to 
me and of my affection — but I refrained because I was 
afraid, not of those who might think themselves attacked, 
for I have been very sparing and gentle in that respect, but 
of my benefactors, of whom it were an endless task to 
mention the whole list. Nevertheless, the books, such as 
they are, if I find anyone to whom I can safely commit 


them, I will take care to have conveyed to you: and as far 
as that part of my life and conduct is concerned, I submit 
it entirely to your judgment. All that I shall succeed in 
accomplishing in literature or in learning — my old favourite 
relaxations — I shall with the utmost cheerfulness place be- 
fore the bar of your criticism, for you have always had a 
fondness for such things. As to what you say in your letter 
about your domestic affairs, and all you charge me to do, I 
am so attentive to them that I don't like being reminded, 
can scarcely bear, indeed, to be asked without a very pain- 
ful feeling. As to your saying, in regard to Quintus's busi- 
ness, that you could not do anything last summer, because 
you were prevented by illness from crossing tO' Cilicia, but 
that you will now do everything in your power to settle it, 
1 may tell you that the fact of the matter is that, if he can 
annex this property, my brother thinks that he will owe to 
you the consolidation of this ancestral estate. I should like 
you to write about all your affairs, and about the studies and 
training of your son Lentulus (whom I regard as mine also) 
as confidentially and as frequently as possible, and to believe 
that there never has been anyone either dearer or more con- 
genial to another than you are to me, and that I will not only 
make you feel that to be the case, but will make all the 
world and posterity itself to the latest generation aware of it. 
Appius used some time back to repeat in conversation, 
and afterwards said openly, even in the senate, that if he 
were allowed to carry a law in the comitia curiata, he would 
draw lots with his colleague for their provinces; but if no 
curiatian law were passed, he would make an arrangement 
with his colleague and succeed you : that a curiatian law was 
a proper thing for a consul, but was not a necessity: that 
since he was in possession of a province by a decree of the 
senate, he should have imperium in virtue of the Cornelian 
law until such time as he entered the city. I don't know 
what your several connexions write to you on the subject: 
I understand that opinion varies. There are some who 
think that you can legally refuse to quit your province, be- 
cause your successor is named without a curiatian law : 
some also hold that, even if you do quit it, you may leave 
some one behind you to conduct its government. For myself, 


I do not feel so certain about the point of law — although 
there is not much doubt even about that — as I do of this, 
that it is for your greatest honour, dignity, and independ- 
ence, which I know you always value above everything, to 
hand over your province to a successor without any delay, 
especially as you cannot thwart his greediness without 
rousing suspicion of your own. I regard my duty as two- 
fold — to let you know what I think, and to defend what you 
have done. 

P.S. — I had written the above when I received your letter 
about the publicani, to whom I could not but admire the 
justice of your conduct. I could have wished that you had 
been able by some lucky chance to avoid running counter 
to the interests and wishes of that order, whose honour you 
have always promoted. For my part, I shall not cease to 
defend your decrees: but you know the ways of that class 
of men; you are aware how bitterly hostile they were to 
the famous Q. Scaevola himself. However, I advise you 
to reconcile that order to yourself, or at least soften its 
feelings, if you can by any means do so. Though difficult, I 
think it is, nevertheless, not beyond the reach of your 


To C. Tree Alius Testa (in Gaul) 

Rome (November) 

In the "Trojan Horse," just at the end, you remember the 
words, "Too late they learn wisdom." You, however, old 
man, were wise in time. Those first snappy letters of yours 

were foolish enough, and then ! I don't at all blame you 

for not being over-curious in regard to Britain. For the 
present, however, you seem to be in winter quarters some- 
what short of warm clothing, and therefore not caring to 
stir out: 

"Not here and there, but everywhere, 
Be wise and ware : 
No sharper steel can warrior bear." 

If I had been by way of dining out, I would not have 
failed your friend Cn. Octavius; to whom, however, I did 


remark upon his repeated invitations, "Pray, who are you?" 
But, by Hercules, joking apart, he is a pretty fellow: I 
could have wished you had taken him with you ! Let me 
know for certain what you are doing and whether you in- 
tend coming to Italy at all this winter. Balbus has assured 
me that you will be rich. Whether he speaks after the 
simple Roman fashion, meaning that you will be well sup- 
plied with money, or according to the Stoic dictum, that "all 
are rich who can enjoy the sky and the earth," I shall know 
hereafter. Those who come from your part accuse you of 
pride, because they say you won't answer men who put 
questions to you. However, there is one thing that will 
please you: they all agree in saying that there is no better 
lawyer than you at Samarobriva! 


To Atticus (at Rome) 
MiNTURN^, May 

Yes, I saw well enough what your feelings were as I 
parted from you; what mine were I am my own witness. 
This makes it all the more incumbent on you to prevent an 
additional decree being passed, so that this mutual regret 
of ours may not last more than a year. As to Annius Satur- 
ninus, your measures are excellent. As to the guarantee, 
pray, during your stay at Rome, give it yourself. You 
will find several guarantees on purchase, such as those of the 
estates of Memmius, or rather, of Attilius. As to Oppius, 
that is exactly what I wished, and especially your having en- 
gaged to pay him the 800 sestertia (about £6,400), which I 
am determined shall be paid in any case, even if I have to 
borrow to do so, rather than wait for the last day of getting 
in my own debts. 

I now come to that last line of your letter written cross- 
ways, in which you give me a word of caution about your 
sister. The facts of the matter are these. On arriving at 
my place at Arpinum, my brother came to see me, and our 
first subject of conversation was yourself, and we discussed 


it at great length. After this I brought the conversation 
round to what you and I had discussed at Tusculum, on the 
subject of your sister. I never saw anything so gentle 
and placable as my brother was on that occasion in regard to 
your sister: so much so, indeed, that if there had been any 
cause of quarrel on the score of expense, it was not apparent. 
So much for that day. Next day we started from Arpinum. 
A country festival caused Quintus to stop at Arcanum; I 
stopped at Aquinum; but we lunched at Arcanum. You 
know his property there. When we got there Quintus said, 
in the kindest manner, " Pomponia, do you ask the ladies in, 
I will invite the men." Nothing, as I thought, could be 
more courteous, and that, too, not only in the actual words, 
but also in his intention and the expression of face. But 
she, in the hearing of us all, exclaimed, " I am only a stranger 
here ! " The origin of that was, as I think, the fact that 
Statins had preceded us to look after the luncheon. There- 
upon Quintus said to me, " There, that's what I have to put 
up with every day ! " You will say, " Well, what does that 
amount to ? " A great deal, and, indeed, she had irritated 
even me: her answer had been given with such unnecessary 
acrimony, both of word and look. I concealed my annoyance. 
We all took our places at table except her. However, 
Quintus sent her dishes from the table, which she declined. 
In shorty I thought I never saw anything better tempered 
jthaiLIpy brother, or crosser than your sister : and there were 
many particulars which I omit that raised my bile more 
than did that of Quintus himself. I then went on to Aquinum ; 
Quintus stopped at Arcanum, and joined me early the next 
day at Aquinum. He told me that she had refused to sleep 
with him, and when on the point of leaving she behaved just 
as I had seen her. Need I say more ? You may tell her 
herself that in my judgment she shewed a marked want of 
kindness on that day. I have told you this story at greater 
length, perhaps, than was necessary, to convince you that 
you, too, have something to do in the way of giving her in- 
struction and advice. 

There only remains for me to beg you to complete all my 
commissions before leaving town ; to give Pomptinus a push, 
and make him start; to let me know as soon as you have 


left town, and to believe that, by heaven, there is nothing 
I love and find more pleasure in than yourself. I said a 
most afifectionate good-bye to that best of men, A. Torquatus, 
at Minturnae, to whom I wish you would remark, in the 
course of conversation, that I have mentioned him in my 


To M. PoRcius Cato (at Rome) 

CiLiciA (January) 

Your own immense prestige and my unvarying belief 
in your consummate virtue have convinced me of the great 
importance it is to me that you should be acquainted with 
what I have accomplished, and that you should not be igno- 
rant of the equity and disinterestedness with which I pro- 
tected our allies and governed my province. For if you knew 
these facts, I thought I should with greater ease secure your 
approval of my wishes. 

Having entered my province on the last day of July, and 
seeing that the time of year made it necessary for me to 
make all haste to the army, I spent but two days at Laodicea, 
four at Apamea, three at Synnada, and the same at Philo- 
melium. Having held largely attended assizes in these towns, 
I freed a great number of cities from very vexatious tributes, 
excessive interest, and fraudulent debt. Again, the army 
having before my arrival been broken up by something like 
a mutiny, and five cohorts — without a legate or a military 
tribune, and, in fact, actually without a single centurion — 
having taken up its quarters at Philomelium, while the rest 
of the army was in Lycaonia, I ordered my legate M. Anneaus 
to bring those five cohorts to join the main army; and, hav- 
ing thus got the whole army together into one place, to 
pitch a camp at Iconium in Lycaonia. This order having 
been energetically executed by him, I arrived at the camp 
myself on the 24th of August, having meanwhile, in accord- 
ance with the decree of the senate, collected in the interven- 
ing days a strong body of reserve men, a very adequate force 
of cavalry, and a contingent of volunteers from the free 


peoples and allied sovereigns. While this was going on, 
and when, after reviewing the army, I had on the 28th of 
August begun my march to Cilicia, some legates sent to me 
by the sovereign of Commagene announced, with every sign 
of panic, yet not without some foundation, that the Parthians 
had entered Syria. On hearing this I was rendered very 
anxious both for Syria and my own province, and, in fact, 
for all the rest of Asia. Accordingly, I made up my mind 
that I must lead the army through the district of Cappadocia, 
which adjoins Cilicia. For if I had gone straight down into 
Cilicia, I could easily indeed have held Cilicia itself, owing 
to the natural strength of Mount Amanus — for there are 
only two defiles opening into Cilicia from Syria, both of which 
are capable of being closed by insignificant garrisons owing 
to their narrowness, nor can anything be imagined better 
fortified than is Cilicia on the Syrian side — but I was dis- 
turbed for Cappadocia, which is quite open on the Syrian 
side, and is surrounded by kings, who, even if they are our 
friends in secret, nevertheless do not venture to be openly 
hostile to the Parthians. Accordingly, I pitched my camp 
in the extreme south of Cappadocia at the town of Cybistra, 
not far from Mount Taurus, with the object at once of 
covering Cilicia, and of thwarting the designs of the neigh- 
bouring tribes by holding Cappadocia. Meanwhile, in the 
midst of this serious commotion and anxious expectation 
of a very formidable war king Deiotarus, who has with good 
reason been always highly honoured in your judgment and 
my own, as well as that of the senate — a man distinguished 
for his goodwill and loyalty to the Roman people, as well as 
for his eminent courage and wisdom — sent legates to tell 
me that he was on his way to my camp in full force. Much 
affected by his zeal and kindness, I sent him a letter of 
thanks, and urged him to hasten. However, being detained 
at Cybistra five days while maturing my plan of campaign, 
I rescued king Ariobarzanes, whose safety had been in- 
trusted to me by the senate on your motion, from a plot 
that, to his surprise, had been formed against him: and I 
not only saved his life, but I took pains also to secure that 
his royal authority should be respected. Metras and Ath- 
enseus (the latter strongly commended to me by yourself), 


who had been exiled owing to the persistent enmity of queen 
Athenais, I restored to a position of the highest influence 
and favour with the king. Then, as there was danger of 
serious hostihties arising in Cappadocia in case the priest, 
as it was thought likely that he would do, defended him- 
self with arms — for he was a young man, well furnished 
with horse and foot and money, and relying on those all who 
desired political change of any sort — I contrived that he 
should leave the kingdom: and that the king, without civil 
war or an appeal to arms, with the full authority of the 
court thoroughly secured, should hold the kingdom with 
proper dignity. 

Meanwhile, I was informed by despatches and messen- 
gers from many sides, that the Parthians and Arabs 
had approached the town of Antioch in great force, 
and that a large body of their horsemen, which had crossed 
into Cilicia, had been cut to pieces by some squadrons of 
my cavalry and the praetorian cohort then on garrison duty 
at Epiphanea. Wherefore, seeing that the forces of the 
Parthians had turned their backs upon Cappadocia, and were 
not far from the frontiers of Cilicia, I led my army to 
Amanus with the longest forced marches I could. Arrived 
there, I learnt that the enemy had retired from Antioch, and 
that Bibulus was at Antioch. I thereupon informed Deio- 
tarus, who was hurrying to join me with a large and strong 
body of horse and foot, and with all the forces he could 
muster, that I saw no reason for his leaving his own do- 
minions, and that in case of any new event, I would imme- 
diately write and send to him. And as my intention in 
coming had been to relieve both provinces, should occasion 
arise, so now I proceeded to do what I had all along made 
up my mind was greatly to the interest of both provinces, 
namely, to reduce Amanus, and to remove from that moun- 
tain an eternal enemy. So I m^de a feint of retiring from 
the mountain and making for other parts of Cilicia: and 
having gone a day's march from Amanus and pitched a 
camp, on the I2th of October, towards evening, at Epiphanea, 
with my army in light marching order I effected such a 
night march, that by dawn on the 13th I was already ascend- 
ing Amanus. Having formed the cohorts and auxiliaries 


into several columns of attack — I and my legate Quintus 
(my brother) commanding one, my legate C. Pomptinus 
another, and my legates M. Anneius and L. Tullius the rest 
— we surprised most of the inhabitants, who, being cut off 
from all retreat, were killed or taken prisoners. But Erana, 
which was more like a town than a village, and was the 
capital of Amanus, as also Sepyra and Commoris, which 
offered a determined and protracted resistance from before 
daybreak till four in the afternoon — Pomptinus being in 
command in that part of Amanus — we took, after killing a 
great number of the enemy, and stormed and set fire to 
several fortresses. After these operations we lay encamped 
for four days on the spurs of Amanus, near the Arcs 
Alexandri, and all that time we devoted to the destruction 
of the remaining inhabitants of Amanus, and devastating 
their lands on that side of the mountain which belongs to my 
province. Having accomplished this, I led the army away 
to Pindenissus, a town of the Eleutherocilices. And since 
this town was situated on a very lofty and strongly fortified 
spot, and was inhabited by men who have never submitted 
even to the kings, and since they were offering harbourage 
to deserters, and were eagerly expecting the arrival of the 
Parthians, I thought it of importance to the prestige of the 
empire to suppress their audacity, in order that there 
might be less difficulty in breaking the spirits of all such as 
were anywhere disaffected to our rule. I encircled them 
with a stockade and trench: I beleagured them with six 
forts and huge camps : I assaulted them by the aid of earth- 
works, pent-houses, and towers: and having employed nu- 
merous catapults and bowmen, with great personal labour, 
and without troubling the allies or costing them anything, 
I reduced them to such extremities that, after every region 
of their town had been battered down or fired, they sur- 
rendered to me on the fifty-seventh day. Their next neigh- 
bours were the people of Tebra, no less predatory and 
audacious: from them after the capture of Pindenissus I 
received hostages. I then dismissed the army to winter 
quarters; and I put my brother in command, with orders to 
station the men in villages that had either been captured or 
were disaffected. 


Well now, I would have you feel convinced that, should 
a motion be brought before the senate on these matters, I 
shall consider that the highest possible compliment has been 
paid mC; if you give your vote in favour of a mark of 
honour being bestowed upon me. And as to this, though I 
am aware that in such matters men of the most respectable 
character are accustomed to ask and to be asked, yet I think 
in your case that it is rather a reminder than a request which 
is called for from me. For it is you who have on very many 
occasions complimented me in votes which you delivered, 
who have praised me to the skies in conversation, in pan- 
egyric, in the most laudatory speeches in senate and public 
meeting: you are the man to whose words I ever attached 
such weight as to hold myself in possession of my utmost 
ambition, if your lips joined the chorus of my praise. It 
was you finally, as I recollect, who said, when voting against 
a supplicatio in honour of a certain illustrious and noble 
person, that you would have voted for it, if the motion had 
related to what he had done in the city as consul. It was 
you, too, who voted for granting me a supplicatio, though 
only a civilian, not as had been done in many instances, 
"for good services to the state," but, as I remember, "for 
having saved the state." I pass over your having shared the 
hatred I excited, the dangers I ran, all the storms that I 
have encountered, and your having been entirely ready to 
have shared them much more fully if I had allowed it; and 
finally your having regarded my enemy as your own; of 
whose death even — thus shewing me clearly how much you 
valued me — you manifested your approval by supporting the 
cause of Milo in the senate. On the other hand, I have 
borne a testimony to you, which I do not regard as consti- 
tuting any claim on your gratitude, but as a frank ex- 
pression of genuine opinion: for I did not confine myself to 
a silent admiration of your eminent virtues — who does not 
admire them? But in all forms of speech, whether in the 
senate or at the bar ; in all kinds of writing, Greek or Latin ; 
in fine, in all the various branches of my literary activity, 
I proclaimed your superiority not only to contemporaries, 
but also to those of whom we have heard in history. 

You will ask, perhaps, why I place such value on this or 


that modicum of congratulation or compliment from the 
senate. I will be frank with you, as our common tastes and 
mutual good services, our close friendship, nay, the intimacy 
of our fathers demand. If there ever was anyone by natural 
inclination, and still more, I think, by reason and reflexion, 
averse from the empty praise and comments of the vulgar, I 
am certainly the man. Witness my consulship, in which, as 
in the rest of my life, I confess that I eagerly pursued the 
objects capable of producing true glory: mere glory for its 
own sake I never thought a subject for ambition. Accord- 
ingly, I not only passed over a province after the votes for 
its outfit had been taken, but also with it an almost certain 
hope of a triumph; and finally the priesthood, though, as 
I think you will agree with me, I could have obtained it 
without much difficulty^ I did not try to get. Yet after my 
unjust disgrace — always stigmatized by you as' a disaster to 
the Republic, and rather an honour than a disaster to myself 
— I was anxious that some very signal marks of the appro- 
bation of the senate and Roman people should be put on 
record. Accordingly, in the first place, I did subsequently 
wish for the augurship, about which I had not troubled my- 
self before; and the compliment usually paid by the senate 
in the case of success in war, though passed over by me in 
old times, I now think an object to be desired. That you 
should approve and support this wish of mine, in which you 
may trace a strong desire to heal the wounds inflicted upon 
me by my disgrace, though I a little while ago declared that 
I would not ask it, I now do earnestly ask of you: but only 
on condition that you shall not think my humble services 
paltry and insignificant, but of such a nature and im- 
portance, that many for far less signal successes have ob- 
tained the highest honours from the senate. I have, too, I 
think, noticed this — for you know how attentively I ever 
listen to you — that in granting or withholding honours you 
are accustomed to look not so much to the particular achieve- 
ments as to the character, the principles- and conduct of 
commanders. Well, if you apply this test to my case, you 
will find that, with a weak army, my strongest support against 
the threat of a very formidable war has been my equity and 
purity of conduct. With these as my aids I accomplished 



what I never could have accomplished by any amount of 
legions: among the allies I have created the warmest devo- 
tion in place of the most extreme alienation; the most com- 
plete loyalty in place of the most dangerous disaffection; 
and their spirits fluttered by the prospect of change I have 
brought back to feelings of affection for the old rule. 

But I have said too much of myself, especially to you, in 
whom singly the grievances of all our allies alike find a 
listener. You will learn the truth from those who think 
themselves restored to life by my administration. And while 
all with nearly one consent will praise me in your hearing as 
I most desire to be praised, so will your two chief client 
states — the island of Cyprus and the kingdom of Cappadocia 
— have something to say to you about me also. So, too, I 
think, will Deiotarus, who is attached to you with special 
warmth. Now, if these things are above the common run, 
and if in all ages it has been rarer to find men capable of 
conquering their own desires than capable of conquering an 
enemy's army, it is quite in harmony with your principles, 
when you find these rarer and more difficult virtues com- 
bined with success in war, to regard that success itself as 
more complete and glorious. 

I have only one last resource — philosophy: and to make 
her plead for me, as though I doubted the efficacy of a mere 
request: philosophy, the best friend I have ever had in all 
my life, the greatest gift which has been bestowed by the 
gods upon mankind. Yes! this common sympathy in tastes 
and studies — our inseparable devotion and attachment to 
which from boyhood have caused us to become almost unique 
examples of men bringing that true and ancient philosophy 
(which some regard as only the employment of leisure and 
idleness) down to the forum, the council chamber, and the 
very camp itself — pleads the cause of my glory with you: 
and I do not think a Cato can, with a good conscience, say 
her nay. Wherefore I would have you convince yourself 
that, if my despatch is made the ground of paying me this 
compHment with your concurrence, I shall consider that 
the dearest wish of my heart has been fulfilled owing at 
once to your influence and to your friendship. 



To Atticus (in Epirus) 
Laodicea, 22 February 

I RECEIVED your letter on the fifth day before the Terminalia 
(19th of February) at Laodicea. I was delighted to read it, 
for it teemed with affection, kindness, and an active and 
obliging temper. I will, therefore, answer it sentence by 
sentence — for such is your request — and I will not intro- 
duce an arrangement of my own, but will follow your order. 

You say that the last letter you had of mine was from 
Cybistra, dated 21st September, and you want to know which 
of yours I have received. Nearly all you mention, except 
the one that you say that you delivered to Lentulus's mes- 
sengers at Equotuticus and Brundisium. Wherefore your 
industry has not been thrown away, as you fear, but has 
been exceedingly well laid out, if, that is to say, your object 
was to give me pleasure. For I have never been more de- 
lighted with anything. I am exceedingly glad that you ap- 
prove of my self-restraint in the case of Appius, and of my 
independence even in the case of Brutus : and I had thought 
that it might be somewhat otherwise. For Appius, in the 
course of his journey, had sent me two or three rather 
querulous letters, because I rescinded some of his decisions. 
It is exactly as if a doctor, upon a patient having been placed 
under another doctor, should choose to be angry with the 
latter if he changed some of his prescriptions. Thus Appius, 
having treated the province on the system of depletion, bleed- 
ing, and removing everything he could, and having handed 
it over to me in the last state of exhaustion, he cannot bear 
seeing it treated by me on the nutritive system. Yet he is 
sometimes angry with me, at other times thanks me; for 
nothing I ever do is accompanied with any reflexion upon 
him. It is only the dissimilarity of my system that annoys 
him. For what could be a more striking difference — under 
his rule a province drained by charges for maintenance and 
by losses, under mine, not a penny exacted either from 
private persons or public bodies ? Why speak of his prcBfecti, 
staff, and legates ? Or even of acts of plunder, licentiousness, 


and insult? While as things actually are, no private house, 
by Hercules, is governed with so much system, or on such 
strict principles, nor is so well disciplined, as is my whole 
province. Some of Appius's friends put a ridiculous con- 
struction on this, holding that I wish for a good reputation 
to set off his bad one, and act rightly, not for the sake of 
my own credit, but in order to cast reflexion upon him. But 
if Appius, as Brutus's letter forwarded by you indicated, ex- 
presses gratitude to me, I am satisfied. Nevertheless, this 
very day on which I write this, before dawn, I am thinking 
of rescinding many of his inequitable appointments and 

I now come to Brutus, whose friendship I embraced with 
all possible earnestness on your advice. I had even begun 
to feel genuine affection for him — but here I pull myself up 
short, lest I should offend you: for don't imagine that there 
is anything I wish more than to fulfil his commissions, or 
that there is anything about which I have taken more 
trouble. Now he gave me a volume of commissions, and 
you had already spoken with me about the same matters. 
I have pushed them on with the greatest energy. To begin 
with, I put such pressure on Ariobarzanes, that he paid him 
the talents which he promised me. As long as the king 
was with me, the business was in excellent train: later on 
he begun to be pressed by countless agents of Pompey. 
Now Pompey has by himself more influence than all the 
rest put together for many reasons, and especially because 
there is an idea that he is coming to undertake the Parthian 
war. However, even he has to put up with the following 
scale of payment: on every thirtieth day thirty-three Attic 
talents (£7,920), and that raised by special taxes: nor is it 
sufficient for the monthly interest. But our friend Gnaeus 
is an easy creditor: he stands out of his capital, is content 
with the interest, and even that not in full. The king neither 
pays anyone else, nor is capable of doing so: for he has no 
treasury, no regular income. He levies taxes after the 
method of Appius. They scarcely produce enough to satisfy 
Pompey's interest. The king has two or three very rich 
friends, but they stick to their own as energetically as you 
or I. For my part, nevertheless, I do not cease sending 


letters asking, urging, chiding the king. Deiotarus also has 
informed me that he has sent emissaries to him on Brutus's 
business: that they have brought him back word that he 
has not got the money. And, by Hercules, I believe it is 
the case; nothing can be stripped cleaner than his kingdom, 
or be more needy than the king. Accordingly, I am think- 
ing either of renouncing my guardianship, or, as Scaevola did 
on behalf of Glabrio, of stopping payment altogether — prin- 
cipal and interest alike. However, I have conferred the 
prefectures which I promised Brutus through you on M. 
Scaptius and L. Gavius, who were acting as Brutus's agents 
in the kingdom : for they were not carrying on business in 
my own province. You will remember that I made that 
condition, that he might have as many prefectures as he 
pleased, so long as it was not for a man in business. Ac- 
cordingly, I have given him two others besides : but the ' 
men for whom he asked them had left the province. Now 
for the case of the Salaminians, which I see came upon you 
also as a novelty, as it did upon me. For Brutus never told 
me that the money was his own. Nay, I have his own docu- 
ment containing the words, " The Salaminians owe my friends 
M. Scaptius and P. Matinius a sum of money." He recom- 
mends them to me: he even adds, as though by way of a 
spur to me, that he has gone surety for them to a large 
amount. I had succeeded in arranging that they should 
pay with interest for six years at the rate of twelve per 
cent., and added yearly to the capital sum. But Scaptius 
demanded forty-eight per cent. I was afraid, if he got that, 
you yourself would cease to have any affection for me. For 
I should have receded from my own edict, and should have 
utterly ruined a state which was under the protection not 
only of Cato, but also of Brutus himself, and had been the 
recipient of favours from myself. When lo and behold! at 
this very juncture Scaptius comes down upon me with a 
letter from Brutus, stating that his own property is being 
imperilled — a fact that Brutus had never told either me or 
you. He also begged that I would confer a prefecture on 
Scaptius. That was the very reservation that I had made 
to you — " not to a man in business " : and if to anyone, to 
such a man as that — no ! For he has been a prcefectus to 


Appius, and had, in fact, had some squadrons of cavalry, 
with which he had kept the senate under so close a siege in 
their own council chamber at Salamis, that five senators 
died of starvation. Accordingly, the first day of my entering 
my province, Cyprian legates having already visited me at 
Ephesus, I sent orders for the cavalry to quit the island at 
once. For these reasons I believe Scaptius has written 
some unfavorable remarks about me to Brutus. However, 
my feeling is this: if Brutus holds that I ought to have 
decided in favour of forty-eight per cent., though through- 
out my province I have only recognized twelve per cent., 
and had laid down that rule in my edict with the assent 
even of the most grasping money-lenders; if he complains 
of my refusal of a prefecture to a man in business, which I 
refused to our friend Torquatus in the case of your protege 
Lsenius, and to Pompey himself in the case of Sext. Statins, 
without offending either of them; if, finally, he is annoyed 
at my recall of the cavalry, I shall indeed feel some dis- 
tress at his being angry with me, but much greater distress 
at finding him not to be the man that I had thought him. 
Thus much Scaptius will own — that he had the opportunity 
in my court of taking away with him the whole sum allowed 
by my edict. I will add a fact which I fear you may not 
approve. The interest ought to have ceased to run (I mean 
the interest allowed by my edict), but I induced the Sala- 
minians to say nothing about that. They gave in to me, it is 
true, but what will become of them if Paullus comes here? 
However, I have granted all this in favour of Brutus, who 
writes very kind letters to you about me, but to me my- 
self, even when he has a favour to ask, writes usually in 
a tone of hauteur, arrogance, and offensive superiority. 
You, however, I hope will write to him on this business, 
in order that I may know how he takes what I have done. 
For you will tell me. I have, it is true, written you a full 
and careful account in a former letter, but I wished you 
clearly to understand that I had not forgotten what you had 
said to me in one of your letters: that if I brought home 
from this province nothing else except his goodwill, I should 
have done enough. By all means, since you will have it so : 
but I assume my dealings with him to be without breach of 


duty on my part. Well, then, by my decree the payment of the 
money to Statius is good at law: whether that is just you 
must judge for yourself — I will not appeal even to Cato. But 
don't think that I have cast your exhortations to the winds: 
they have sunk deeply into my mind. With tears in your 
eyes you urged me to be careful of my reputation. Have I 
ever got a letter from you without the same subject being 
mentioned? So, then, let who will be angry, I will endure 
it : " for the right is on my side," especially as I have given 
six books as bail, so to speak, for my good conduct. I am 
very glad you like them, though in one point — about Cn. 
Flavius, son of Annius — you question my history. He, it 
is true, did not live before the decemvirs, for he was curule 
aedile, an office created many years after the decemvirs. 
What good did he do, then, by publishing the Fastis It is 
supposed that the tablet containing them had been kept 
concealed up to a certain date, in order that information 
as to days for doing business might have to be sought from 
a small coterie. And indeed several of our authorities 
relate that a scribe named Cn. Flavius published the Fasti 
and composed forms of pleading — so don't imagine that I, 
or rather Africanus (for he is the spokesman), invented the 
fact. So you noticed the remark about the " action of an 
actor," did you? You suspect a malicious meaning: I wrote 
in all simplicity. 

You say that Philotiraus told you about my having been 
saluted imperator. But I feel sure that, as you are now in 
Epirus, you have received my own letters on the whole sub- 
ject, one from Pindenissus after its capture, another from 
Laodicea, both delivered to your own messengers. On these 
events, for fear of accidents at sea, I sent a public despatch 
to Rome in duplicate by two different letter-carriers. 

As to my Tullia, I agree with you, and I have written to 
her and to Terentia giving my consent. For you have already 
said in a previous letter to me, " and I could wish that you 
had returned to your old set." There was no occasion to 
alter the letter you sent by Memnius: for I much prefer to 
accept this man from Pontidia, than the other from Servilia, 
Wherefore take our friend Saufeius into council. He was 
always fond of me, and now I suppose all the more so as he 


is bound to have accepted Appius's affection for me with the 
rest of the property he has inherited. Appius often showed 
how much he valued me, and especially in the trial of Bursa. 
Indeed you will have relieved me of a serious anxiety. 

I don't like Furnius's proviso. For, in fact, there is no 
state of things that alarms me except just that of which he 
makes the only exception. But I should have written at 
great length to you on this subject if you had been at Rome. 
I don't wonder that you rest all your hope of peace on 
Pompey: I believe that is the truth, and in my opinion you 
must strike out your word " insincerity." If my arrangement 
of topics is somewhat random, blame yourself: for I am 
following your own haphazard order. 

My son and nephew are very fond of each other. They 
take their lessons and their exercise together ; but as Isocrates 
said of Ephorus and Theopompus, the one wants the rein, 
the other the spur. I intend giving Quintus the toga virilis 
on the Liberalia. For his father commissioned me to do 
so. And I shall observe the day without taking intercalation 
into account. I am very fond of Dionysius: the boys, how- 
ever, say that he gets into mad passions. But after all there 
could not be a man of greater learning, purer character, or 
more attached to you and me. The praises you hear of 
Thermus and Silius are thoroughly deserved: they conduct 
themselves in the most honourable manner. You may say 
the same of M. Nonius, Bibulus, and myself, if you like. I 
only wish Scrofa had had an opportunity to do the same : for 
he is an excellent fellow. The rest don't do much honour to 
Cato's policy. Many thanks for commending my case to 
Hortensius. As for Amianus, Dionysius thinks there is no 
hope. I haven't found a trace of Terentius. Moeragenes has 
certainly been killed. I made a progress through his district, 
in which there was not a single living thing left. I didn't 
know about this, when I spoke to your man Democritus. 
I have ordered the service of Rhosian ware. But, hallo! 
what are you thinking of? You generally serve us up a 
dinner of herbs on fern-pattern plates, and the most sparkling 
of baskets: what am I to expect you to give on porcelain? I 
have ordered a horn for Phemius: one will be sure to turn 
up ; I only hope he may play something worthy of it. 


There is a threat of a Parthian war. Cassius's despatch 
was empty brag : that of Bibulus had not arrived : when that 
is read I think the senate will at length be roused. I am 
myself in serious anxiety. If, as I hope, my government is 
not prolonged, I have only June and July to fear. May it 
be so ! Bibulus will keep them in check for two months. 
What will happen to the man I leave in charge, especially if 
it is my brother? Or, again, what will happen to me, if I 
don't leave my province so soon? It is a great nuisance. 
However, I have agreed with Deiotarus that he should join 
my camp in full force. He has thirty cohorts of four hundred 
men apiece, armed in the Roman fashion, and two thousand 
cavalry. That will be sufficient to hold out till the arrival of 
Pompey, who in a letter he writes to me indicates that the 
business will be put in his hands. The Parthians are winter- 
ing in a Roman province. Orodes is expected in person. In 
short, it is a serious matter. As to Bibulus's edict there is 
nothing new, except the proviso of which you said in your 
letter, "that it reflected with excessive severity on our order." 
I, however, have a proviso in my own edict of equivalent 
force, but less openly expressed (derived from the Asiatic edict 
of Q. Mucins, son of Publius) — "provided that the agree- 
ment made is not such as cannot hold good in equity." I 
have followed Scsevola in many points, among others in this 
— which the Greeks regard as a charta of liberty — that Greeks 
are to decide controversies between each other according to 
their own laws. But my edict was shortened by my method 
of making a division, as I thought it well to publish it under 
two heads: the first, exclusively applicable to a province, 
concerned borough accounts, debt, rate of interest, contracts, 
all regulations also referring to the publicani: the second, in- 
cluding what cannot conveniently be transacted without an 
edict, related to inheritances, ownership and sale, appoint- 
ment of receivers, all which are by custom brought into court 
and settled in accordance with the edict : a third division, em- 
bracing the remaining departments of judicial business, I left 
unwritten. I gave out that in regard to that class of business 
I should accommodate my decisions to those made at Rome : I 
accordingly do so, and give general satisfaction. The Greeks, 
indeed, are jubilant because they have non-Roman jurors. 


" Yes," you will say, " a very poor kind." What does that 
matter? They, at any rate, imagine themselves to have ob- 
tained " autonomy." You at Rome, I suppose, have men of 
high character in that capacity — Tupio the shoemaker and 
Vettius the broker ! You seem to wish to know how I treat 
the publicani. I pet, indulge, compliment, and honour them: 
I contrive, however, that they oppress no one. The most 
surprising thing is that even Servilius maintained the rates of 
usury entered on their contracts. My line is this : I name 
a day fairly distant, before which, if they have paid, I give 
out that I shall recognize only twelve per cent. : if they have 
not paid, the rate shall be according to the contract. The 
result is that the Greeks pay at a reasonable rate of interest, 
and the publicani are thoroughly satisfied by receiving in full 
measure what I mentioned — complimentary speeches and 
frequent invitations. Need I say more? They are all on 
such terms with me that each thinks himself my most in- 
timate friend. However, jjL7:3ev abrolg — ^you know the rest. 
As to the statue of Africanus — what a mass of confusion ! 
But that was just what interested me in your letter. Do 
you really mean it? Does the present Metellus Scipio not 
know that his great-grandfather was never censor? Why, 
the statue placed at a high elevation in the temple of Ops 
had no inscription except cens, while on the statue near the 
Hercules of Polycles there is also the inscription cens, and 
that this is the statue of the same man is proved by attitude, 
dress, ring, and the likeness itelf. But, by Hercules, when 
I observed in the group of gilded equestrian statues, placed by 
the present Metellus on the Capitol, a statue of Africanus 
with the name of Serapio inscribed under it, I thought it a 
mistake of the workman. I now see that it is an error of 
Metellus's. What a shocking historical blunder! For that 
about Flavius and the Fasti, if it is a blunder, is one shared 
in by all, and you were quite right to raise the question. I 
followed the opinion which runs through nearly all historians, 
as is often the case with Greek writers. For example, do 
they not all say that Eupolis, the poet of the old comedy, was 
thrown into the sea by Alcibiades on his voyage to Sicily? 
Eratosthenes disproves it: for he produces some plays ex- 
hibited by him after that date. Is that careful historian. 


Duris of Samos, laughed out of court because he, in common 
with many others, made this mistake? Has not, again, every 
writer affirmed that Zaleucus drew up a constitution for the 
Locrians? Are we on that account to regard Theophrastus 
as utterly discredited, because your favourite Timaeus at- 
tacked his statement ? But not to know that one's own great- 
grandfather was never censor is discreditable, especially as 
since his consulship no Cornelius was censor in his lifetime. 

As to what you say about Philotimus and the payment of 
the 20,600 sestertia, I hear that Philotimus arrived in the 
Chersonese about the ist of January: but as yet I have not 
had a word from him. The balance due to me Camillus 
writes me word that he has received ; I don't know how much 
it is, and I am anxious to know. However, we will talk of 
this later on, and with greater advantage, perhaps, when we 

But, my dear Atticus, that sentence almost at the end of 
your letter gave me great uneasiness. For you say, " What 
else is there to say?" and then you go on to entreat me in 
most afifectionate terms not to forget my vigilance, and to 
keep my eyes on what is going on. Have you heard any- 
thing about anyone? I am sure nothing of the sort has 
taken place. No, no, it can't be ! It would never have 
eluded my notice, nor will it. Yet that reminder of yours, 
so carefully worded, seems to suggest something. 

As to M. Octavius, I hereby again repeat that your answer 
was excellent: I could have wished it a little more positive 
still. For Caelius has sent me a freedman and a carefully 
written letter about some panthers and also a grant from the 
states. I have written back to say that, as to the latter, I 
am much vexed if my .course of conduct is still obscure, and 
if it is not known at Rome that not a penny has been 
exacted from my province except for the payment of debt; 
and I have explained to him that it is improper both for me 
to solicit the money and for him to receive it; and I have 
advised him (for I am really attached to him) that, after 
prosecuting others, he should be extra-careful as to his own 
conduct. As to the former request, I have said that it is 
inconsistent with my character that the people of Cibyra 
should hunt at the public expense while I am governor. 


Lepta jumps for joy at your letter. It is indeed prettily 
written, and has placed me in a very agreeable light in his 
eyes. I am much obliged to your little daughter for so 
earnestly bidding you send me her love. It is very kind of 
Pilia also; but your daughter's kindness is the greater, be- 
cause she sends the message to one she has never seen. 
Therefore pray give my love to both in return. The day on 
which your letter was dated, the last day of December, 
reminded me pleasantly of that glorious oath of mine, 
which I have not forgotten. I was a civilian Magnus 
on that day. 

There's your letter completely answered ! Not as you 
were good enough to ask, with " gold for bronze," but tit 
for tat. Oh, but here is another little note, which I will not 
leave unanswered. Lucceius, on my word, could get a good 
price for his Tusculan property, unless, perchance, his flute- 
player is a fixture (for that's his way), and I should like to 
know in what condition it is. Our friend Lentulus, I hear, 
has advertised everything for sale except his Tusculan prop- 
erty. I should like to see these men cleared of their 
embarrassments, Cestius also, and you may add Caelius, to 
all of whom the line applies, 

"Ashamed to shrink and yet afraid to take." 

I suppose you have heard of Curio's plan for recalling 
Memmius. Of the debt due from Egnatius of Sidicinum I am 
not without some hope, though it is a feeble one. Pinarius, 
whom you recommended to me, is seriously ill, and is being 
very carefully looked after by Deiotarus. So there's the 
answer to your note also. 

Pray talk to me on paper as frequently as possible while 
I am at Laodicea, where I shall be up to the 15th of May: 
and when you reach Athens at any rate send me letter- 
carriers, for by that time we shall know about the business 
in the city and the arrangements as to the provinces, the 
settlement of all which has been fixed for March. 

But look here ! Have you yet wrung out of Caesar by the 
agency of Herodes the fifty Attic talents? In that matter 
you have, I hear, roused great wrath on the part of Pompey. 
For he thinks that you have snapped up money rightly his, 


and that Csesar will be no less lavish in his building at the 
Nemus Dianae. 

I was told all this by P. Vedius, a hare-brained fellow 
enough, but yet an intimate friend of Pompey's. This 
Vedius came to meet me with two chariots, and a carriage 
and horses, and a sedan, and a large suite of servants, for 
which last, if Curio has carried his law, he will have to 
pay a toll of a hundred sestertii apiece. There was also 
in a chariot a dog-headed baboon, as well as some wild 
asses. I never saw a more extravagant fool. But the cream 
of the whole is this. He stayed at Laodicea with Pompeius 
Vindullus. There he deposited his properties when coming 
to see me. Meanwhile Vindullus dies, and his property is 
supposed to revert to Pompeius Magnus. Gaius Vennonius 
comes to Vindullus's house : when, while putting a seal on all 
goods, he comes across the baggage of Vedius. In this are 
found five small portrait busts of married ladies, among 
which is one of the wife of your friend — " brute," indeed, to 
be intimate with such a fellow ! and of the wife of Lepidus — 
as easy-going as his name to take this so calmly ! I wanted 
you to know these historiettes by the way; for we have 
both a pretty taste in gossip. There is one other thing I 
should like you to turn over in your mind. I am told that 
Appius is building a propylceum at Eleusis. Should I be 
foolishly vain if I also built one at the Academy? " I think 
so," you will say. Well, then, write and tell me that that is 
your opinion. For myself, I am deeply attached to Athens 
itself. I would like some memorial of myself to exist. I 
loathe sham inscriptions on statues really representing other 
people. But settle it as you please, and be kind enough to 
inform me on what day the Roman mysteries fall, and how 
you have passed the winter. Take care of your health. 
Dated the 765th day since the battle of Leuctra ! 



M. PoRcius Cato to Cicero (in Cilicia) 

Rome (June) 

I GLADLY obey the call of the state and of our friendship, in 
rejoicing that your virtue, integrity, and energy, already 
known at home in a most important crisis, when you were a 
civilian, should be maintained abroad with the same pains- 
taking care now that you have military command. Therefore 
what I could conscientiously do in setting forth in laudatory 
terms that the province had been defended by your wisdom; 
that the kingdom of Ariobarzanes, as well as the king him- 
self, had been preserved; and that the feelings of the allies 
had been won back to loyalty to our empire — that I have 
done by speech and vote. That a thanksgiving was decreed 
I am glad, if you prefer our thanking the gods rather than 
giving you the credit for a success which has been in no 
respect left to chance, but has been secured for the Republic 
by your own eminent prudence and self-control. But if you 
think a thanksgiving to be a presumption in favour of a 
triumph, and therefore prefer fortune having the credit 
rather than yourself, let me remind you that a triumph does 
not always follow a thanksgiving; and that it is an honour 
much more brilliant than a triumph for the senate to declare 
its opinion, that a province has been retained rather by the 
uprightness and mildness of its governor, than by the 
strength of an army or the favour of heaven: and that is 
what I meant to express by my vote. And I write this to 
you at greater length than I usually do write, because I wish 
above all things that you should think of me as taking pains 
to convince you, both that I have wished for you what I be- 
lieved to be for your highest honour, and am glad that you 
have got what you preferred to it. Farewell : continue to 
love me; and by the way you conduct your home- journey, 
secure to the allies and the Republic the advantages of your 
integrity and energy. 



To M. PoRcius Cato (at Rome) 

(Asia, September) 

" Right glad am I to be praised " — says Hector, I think, in 
Naevius — " by thee, reverend senior, who hast thyself been 
praised." For certainly praise is sweet that comes from 
those who themselves have lived in high repute. For my- 
self, there is nothing I should not consider myself to have 
attained either by the congratulation contained in your 
letter, or the testimony borne to me in your senatorial speech : 
and it was at once the highest compliment and the greatest 
gratification to me, that you willingly conceded to friendship, 
what you transparently conceded to truth. And if, I don't 
say all, but if many were Catos in our state — in which it is a 
matter of wonder that there is even one — what triumphal 
chariot or laurel should I have compared with praise from 
you? For in regard to my feelings, and in view of the ideal 
honesty and subtility of your judgment, nothing can be more 
complimentary than the speech of yours, which has been 
copied for me by my friends. But the reason of my wish, 
for I will not call it desire, I have explained to you in a 
former letter. And even if it does not appear to you to 
be entirely sufficient, it at any rate leads to this conclusion 
— not that the honour is one to excite excessive desire, 
but yet is one which, if offered by the senate, ought certainly 
not to be rejected. Now I hope that that House, considering 
the labours I have undergone on behalf of the state, will not 
think me undeserving of an honour, especially one that has 
become a matter of usage. And if this turns out to be so, all 
I ask of you is that — to use your own most friendly words — 
since you have paid me what in your judgment is the highest 
compliment, you will still " be glad " if I have the good 
fortune to get what I myself have preferred. For I per- 
ceive that you have acted, felt, and written in this sense: 
and the facts themselves shew that the compliment paid me 
of a supplicatio was agreeable to you, since your name ap- 
pears on the decree : for decrees of the senate of this nature 
are, I am aware, usually drawn out by the warmest friends 


of the man concerned in the honour. I shall, I hope, soon 
see you, and may it be in a better state of political affairs 
than my fears forebode ! 


To Tiro (at Patr^e) 

Brundisium, 26 November 

Cicero and his son greet Tiro warmly. We parted from 
you, as you know, on the 2nd of November. We arrived 
at Leucas on the 6th of November, on the 7th at Actium. 
There we were detained till the 8th by a storm. Thence 
on the 9th we arrived at Corcyra after a charming voyage. 
At Corcyra we were detained by bad weather till the 15th. 
On the i6th we continued our voyage to Cassiope, a harbour 
of Corcyra, a distance of 120 stades. There we were de- 
tained by winds until the 22nd. Many of those who in this 
interval impatiently attempted the crossing suffered ship- 
wreck. On the 22nd, after dinner, we weighed anchor. 
Thence with a very gentle south wind and a clear sky, in 
the course of that night and the next day we arrived in high 
spirits on Italian soil at Hydrus, and with the same wind 
next day — that is, the 24th of November — at 10 o'clock in 
the morning we reached Brundisium, and exactly at the 
same time as ourselves Terentia (who values you very 
highly) made her entrance into the town. On the 26th, at 
Brundisium, a slave of Cn. Plancius at length delivered to 
me the ardently expected letter from you, dated the 13th of 
November. It greatly lightened my anxiety: would that it 
had entirely removed it ! However, the physician Asclapo 
positively asserts that you will shortly be well. What need 
is there for me at this time of day to exhort you to take 
every means to re-establish your health? I know your good 
sense, temperate habits, and affection for me: I am sure 
you will do everything you can to join me as soon as 
possible. But though I wish this, I would not have you 
hurry yourself in any way. I could have wished you had 
shirked Lyso's concert, for fear of incurring a fourth fit of 
your seven-day fever. But since you have preferred to con- 


suit your politeness rather than your health, be careful for 
the future. I have sent orders to Curius for a douceur to 
be given to the physician, and that he should advance you 
whatever you want, engaging to pay the money to any agent 
he may name. I am leaving a horse and mule for you at 

At Rome I fear that the ist of January will be 
the beginning of serious disturbances. I shall take a 
moderate line in all respects. It only remains to beg and 
entreat you not to set sail rashly — seamen are wont to hurry 
things for their own profit: be cautious, my dear Tiro: you 
have a wide and difficult sea before you. If you can, start 
with Mescinius; he is usually cautious about a sea passage: 
if not, travel with some man of rank, whose position may 
give him influence over the ship-owner. If you take every 
precaution in this matter and present yourself to us safe and 
sound, I shall want nothing more of you. Good-bye, again 
and again, dear Tiro! I am writing with the greatest 
earnestness about you to the physician, to Curius, and to 
Lyso. Good-bye, and God bless you. 


To L. Papirius P^tus (at Naples) 

TuscuLUM (July) 

I was charmed with your letter, in which, first of all, what 
I loved was the tenderness which prompted you to write, 
in alarm lest Silius should by his news have caused me any 
anxiety. About this news, not only had you written to 
me before — in fact twice, one letter being a duplicate of 
the other — shewing me clearly that you were upset, but I 
also had answered you in full detail, in order that I might, 
as far as such a business and such a crisis admitted, free 
you from your anxiety, or at any rate alleviate it. But 
since you shew in your last also how anxious you are about 
that matter — make up your mind to this, my dear Psetus: 
that whatever could possibly be accomplished by art — for it 
is not enough nowadays to contend with mere prudence, a 

6 — HC IX 


sort of system must be elaborated — however, whatever could 
be done or effected towards winning and securing the good- 
will of those men I have done, and not, I think, in vain. 
For I receive such attentions, such politenesses from all 
Caesar's favourites as make me believe myself beloved by 
them. For, though genuine love is not easily distinguished 
from feigned, unless some crisis occurs of a kind to test 
faithful affection by its danger, as gold in the fire, there are 
Other indications of a general nature. But I only employ 
one proof to convince me that I am loved from the heart 
and in sincerity — namely, that my fortune and theirs is of 
such a kind as to preclude any motive on their part for pre- 
tending. In regard, again, to the man who now possesses 
all power, I see no reason for my being alarmed: except 
the fact that, once depart from law, everything is uncertain; 
and that nothing can be guaranteed as to the future which 
depends on another man's will, not to say caprice. Be that 
as it may, personally his feelings have in no respect been 
wounded by me. For in that particular point I have ex- 
hibited the greatest self-control. For, as in old times I used 
to reckon that to speak without reserve was a privilege of 
mine, since to my exertions the existence of liberty in the 
state was owing, so, now that that is lost, I think it is my 
duty to say nothing calculated to offend either his wishes or 
those of his favourites. But if I want to avoid the credit of 
certain keen or witty epigrams, I must entirely abjure a 
reputation for genius, which I would not refuse to do, if 
I could. But after all Caesar himself has a very keen criti- 
cal faculty, and, just as your cousin Servius — whom I con- 
sider to have been a most accomplished man of letters — had 
no difficulty in saying: "This verse is not Plautus's, this 
is — " because he had acquired a sensitive ear by dint of 
classifying the various styles of poets and habitual read- 
ing, so I am told that Caesar, having now completed his 
volumes of bons mots, if anything is brought to him as 
mine, which is not so, habitually rejects it. This he now 
does all the more, because his intimates are in my company 
almost every day. Now in the course of our discursive talk 
many remarks are let fall, which perhaps at the time of my 
making them seem to them wanting neither in literary 


flavour nor in piquancy. These are conveyed to him along 
with the other news of the day: for so he himself directed. 
Thus it comes about that if he is told of anything besides about 
me, he considers that he ought not to listen to it. Where- 
fore I have no need of your (Enomaus, though your quota- 
tion of Accius's verses was very much on the spot. But what 
is this jealousy, or what have I now of which anyone can be 
jealous? But suppose the worst. I find that the philosophers, 
who alone in my view grasp the true nature of virtue, hold 
that the wise man does not pledge himself against anything 
except doing wrong; and of this I consider myself clear in 
two ways, first in that my veiws were most absolutely cor- 
rect; and second because, when I found that we had not 
sufficient material force to maintain them, I was against a 
trial of strength with the stronger party. Therefore, so far 
as the duty of a good citizen is concerned, I am certainly 
not open to reproach. What remains is that I should not 
say or do anything foolish or rash against the men in power : 
that too, I think, is the part of the wise man. As to the 
rest — what this or that man may say that I said, or the 
light in which he views it, or the amount of good faith with 
which those who continually seek me out and pay me at- 
tention may be acting — for these things I cannot be re- 
sponsible. The result is that I console myself with the con- 
sciousness of my uprightness in the past and my moderation 
in the present, and apply that simile of Accius's not to 
jealousy, but to fortune, which I hold — as being incon- 
stant and frail — ought to be beaten back by a strong and 
manly soul, as a wave is by a rock. For, considering that 
Greek history is full Df examples of how the wisest men en- 
dured tyrannies either at Athens or Syracuse, when, though 
their countries were enslaved, they themselves in a certain 
sense remained free — am I to believe that I cannot so main- 
tain my position as not to hurt anyone's feelings and yet not 
blast my own character? 

I now come to your jests, since as an afterpiece to 
Accius's (Enomaus, you have brought on the stage, not, as 
was his wont, an Atellan play, but, according to the pres- 
ent fashion, a mime. What's all this about a pilot-fish, 
a denarius, and a dish of salt fish and cheese? In my old 


easy-going days I put up with that sort of thing: but times 
are changed. Hirtius and Dolabella are my pupils in rhet- 
oric, but my masters in the art of dining. For I think 
you must have heard, if you really get all news, that their 
practice is to declaim at my house, and mine to dine at 
theirs. Now it is no use your making an affidavit of insol- 
vency to me: for when you had some property, petty profits 
used to keep you a little too close to business; but as 
things are now, seeing that you are losing money so cheer- 
fully, all you have to do, when entertaining me, is to regard 
yourself as accepting a "composition"; and even that loss 
is less annoying when it comes from a friend than from a 
debtor. Yet, after all, I don't require dinners superfluous 
in quantity: only let what there is be first-rate in quality 
and recherche. I remember you used to tell me stories of 
Phamea's dinner. Let yours be earlier, but in other re- 
spects like that. But if you persist in bringing me back 
to a dinner like your mother's, I should put up with that 
also. For I should like to see the man who had the face 
to put on the table for me what you describe, or even a 
polypus — looking as red as lupiter Miniatus. Believe me, 
you won't dare. Before I arrive the fame of my new mag- 
nificence will reach yovi: and you will be awestruck at it. 
Yet it is no use building any hope on your hors d'oeuvre. I 
have quite abolished that: for in old times I found my ap- 
petite spoilt by your olives and Lucanian sausages. But 
why all this talk? Let me only get to you. By all means — 
for I wish to wipe away all fear from your heart — go 
back to your old cheese-and-sardine dish. The only ex- 
pense I shall cause you will be that you will have to have 
the bath heated. All the rest according to my regular 
habits. What I have just been saying was all a joke. 

As to Selicius's villa, you have managed the business 
carefully and written most wittily. So I think I won't buy. 
For there is enough salt and not enough savour. 



To L. Papirius P^tus (at Naples) 

TuscuLUM (July) 

Being quite at leisure in my Tusculan villa, because I had 
sent my pupils to meet him, that they might at the same 
time present me in as favourable a light as possible to their 
friend, I received your most delightful letter, from w^hich 
I learnt that you approved my idea of having begun — now 
that legal proceedings are abolished and my old supremacy 
in the forum is lost — to keep a kind of school, just as Dio- 
nysius, when expelled from Syracuse, is said to have opened 
a school at Corinth. In short, I too am delighted with the 
idea, for I secure many advantages. First and foremost, I 
am strengthening my position in view of the present crisis, 
and that is of primary importance at this time. How much 
that amounts to I don't know: I only see that as at present 
advised I prefer no one's policy to this, unless, of course, it 
had been better to have died. In one's own bed, I confess 
it might have been, but that did not occur: and as to the 
field of battle, I was not there. The rest indeed — Pompey, 
your friend Lentulus, Afranius — perished ingloriously. But, 
it may be said, Cato died a noble death. Well, that at any 
rate is in our power when we will: let us only do our best 
to prevent its being as necessary to us as it was to him. 
That is what I am doing. So that is the first thing I had to 
say. The next is this: I am improving, in the first place in 
health, which I had lost from giving up all exercise of my 
lungs. In the second place, my oratorical faculty, such as it 
was, would have completely dried up, had I not gone back to 
these exercises. The last thing I have to say, which I rather 
think you will consider most important of all, is this : I have 
now demolished more peacocks than you have young 
pigeons ! You there revel in Haterian law-sauce, I here in 
Hirtian hot-sauce. Come then, if you are half a man, and 
learn from me the maxims which you seek: yet it is a case 
of "a pig teaching Minerva." But it will be my business to 
see to that: as for you, if you can't find purchasers for your 
foreclosures and so fill your pot with denarii, back you 


must come to Rome. It is better to die of indigestion here, 
than of starvation there. I see you have lost money: I hope 
these friends of yours have done the same. You are a 
ruined man if you don't look out. You may possibly get to 
Rome on the only mule that you say you have left, since 
you have eaten up your pack horse. Your seat in the 
school, as second master, will be next to mine : the honour 
of a cushion will come by-and-by. 


To L. Papirius P^tus (at Naples) 

Rome (August) 

I was doubly charmed by your letter, first because it made 
me laugh myself, and secondly because I saw that you could 
still laugh. Nor did I in the least object to being over- 
whelmed with your shafts of ridicule, as though I were a 
light skirmisher in the war of wits. What I am vexed at is 
that I have not been able, as I intended, to run over to see 
you: for you would not have had a mere guest, but a 
brother-in-arms. And such a hero ! not the man whom you 
used to do for by the hors d'oeuvre. I now bring an un- 
impaired appetite to the eg%, and so the fight is maintained 
right up to the roast veal. The compliments you used to 
pay me in old times — "What a contented person !" "What 
an easy guest to entertain !" — are things of the past. All my 
anxiety about the good of the state, all meditating of 
speeches to be delivered in the senate, all getting up of 
briefs I have cast to the winds. I have thrown myself into 
the camp of my old enemy Epicurus — not, however, with 
a view to the extravagance of the present day, but to that 
refined splendour of yours — I mean your old style when 
you had money to spend (though you never had more 
landed estate). Therefore prepare! You have to deal 
with a man, who not only has a large appetite, but who 
also knows a thing or two. You are aware of the ex- 
travagance of your bourgeois gentilhomme. You must for- 
get all your little baskets and your omelettes. I am now 


so far advanced in the art that I frequently venture to ask 
your friend Verrius and Camillus to dinner — what dandies! 
how fastidious ! But think of my audacity : I even gave 
Hirtius a dinner, without a peacock however. In that dinner 
my cook could not imitate him in anything but the hot 

So this is my way of life nowadays: in the morning I re- 
ceive not only a large number of "loyalists," who, how- 
ever, look gloomy enough, but also our exultant conquerors 
here, who in my case are quite prodigal in polite and affec- 
tionate attentions. When the stream of morning callers has 
ebbed, I wrap myself up in my books, either writing or 
reading. There are also some visitors who listen to my 
discourses under the belief of my being a man of learning, 
because I am a trifle more learned than themselves. After 
that all my time is given to my bodily comfort. I have 
mourned for my country more deeply and longer than any 
mother for her only son. But take care, if you love me, to 
keep your health, lest I should take advantage of your be- 
ing laid up to eat you out of house and home. For I am 
resolved not to spare you even when you are ill. 


To AuLus CyEciNA (in Exile) 
Rome (September) 

I AM afraid you may think me remiss in my attentions to 
you, which, in view of our close union resulting from many 
mutual services and kindred tastes, ought never to be lack- 
ing. In spite of that I fear you do find me wanting in the 
matter of writing. The fact is, I would have sent you a 
letter long ago and on frequent occasions, had I not, from 
expecting day after day to have some better news for you, 
wished to fill my letter with congratulation rather than with 
exhortations to courage. As it is, I shall shortly, I hope, have 
to congratulate you: and so I put off that subject for a 
letter to another time. But in this letter I think that your 
courage — which I am told and hope is not at all shaken — 


ought to be repeatedly braced by the authority of a man, 
who, if not the wisest in the world, is yet the most devoted 
to you: and that not with such words as I should use to 
console one utterly crushed and bereft of all hope of restora- 
tion, but as to one of whose rehabilitation I have no more 
doubt than I remember that you had of mine. For when 
those men had driven me from the Republic, who thought 
that it could not fall while I was on my feet, I remember 
hearing from many visitors from Asia, in which country 
you then were, that you were emphatic as to my glorious 
and rapid restoration. If that system, so to speak, of Tuscan 
augury which you had inherited from your noble and ex- 
cellent father did not deceive you, neither will our power of 
divination deceive me; which I have acquired from the 
writings and maxims of the greatest savants, and, as you 
know, by a very diligent study of their teaching, as well as 
by an extensive experience in managing public business, 
and from the great vicissitudes of fortune which I have en- 
countered. And this divination I am the more inclined to 
trust, from the fact that it never once deceived me in the 
late troubles, in spite of their obscurity and confusion. I 
would have told you what events I foretold, were I not 
afraid to be thought to be making up a story after the event 
Yet, after all, I have numberless witnesses to the fact that I 
warned Pompey not to form a union with Caesar, and after- 
wards not to sever it. By this union I saw that the power 
of the senate would be broken, by its severance a civil war 
be provoked. And yet I was very intimate with Caesar, and 
had a very great regard for Pompey, but my advice was 
at once loyal to Pompey and in the best interests of both 
alike. My other predictions I pass over; for I would not 
have Cajsar think that I gave Pompey advice, by which, if 
he had followed it, Caesar himself would have now been a 
man of illustrious character in the state indeed, and the first 
man in it, but yet not in possession of the great power he 
now wields. I gave it as my opinion that he should go to 
Spain; and if he had done so, there would have been no 
civil war at all. That Caesar should be allowed to stand for 
the consulship in his absence I did not so much contend to 
be constitutional, as that, since the law had been passed by 


the people at the instance of Pompey himself when consul, 
it should be done. The pretext for hostilities was given. 
What advice or remonstrance did I omit, when urging that 
any peace, even the most inequitable, should be preferred to 
the most righteous war? My advice was overruled, not so 
much by Pompey — for he was affected by it — as by those 
who, relying on him as a military leader, thought that a 
victory in that war would be highly conducive to their 
private interests and personal ambitions. The war was 
begun without my taking any active part in it; it was 
forcibly removed from Italy, while I remained there as long 
as I could. But honour had greater weight with me than 
fear: I had scruples about failing to support Pompey's 
safety, when on a certain occasion he had not failed to sup- 
port mine. Accordingly, overpowered by a feeling of duty, 
or by what the loyalists would say, or by a regard for 
my honor — whichever you please — like Amphiarus in the 
play, I went deliberately, and fully aware of what I was 
doing, "to ruin full displayed before my eyes." In this 
war there was not a single disaster that I did not foretell. 
Therefore, since, after the manner of augurs and astrolo- 
gers, I too, as a state augur, have by my previous pre- 
dictions established the credit of my prophetic power and 
knowledge of divination in your eyes, my prediction will 
justly claim to be believed. Well, then, the prophecy I now 
give you does not rest on the flight of a bird nor the note 
of a bird of good omen on the left — according to the system 
of our augural college — nor from the normal and audible 
pattering of the corn of the sacred chickens. I have other 
signs to note; and if they are not more infallible than those, 
yet after all they are less obscure or misleading. Now 
omens as to the future are observed by me in what I may 
call a twofold method: the one I deduce from Caesar him- 
self, the other from the nature and complexion of the po- 
litical situation. Caesar's characteristics are these: a dispo- 
sition naturally placable and clement — as delineated in your 
brilliant book of "Grievances" — and a great liking also for 
superior talent, such as your own. Besides this, he is re- 
lenting at the expressed wishes of a large number of your 
friends, which are well-grounded and inspired by afifection, 


not hollow and self-seeking. Under this head the unani- 
mous feeling of Etruria will have great influence on him. 

Why, then — you may ask — have these things as yet had 
no effect? Why, because he thinks if he grants you yours, 
he cannot resist the applications of numerous petitioners 
with whom to all appearance he has juster grounds for 
anger. "What hope, then," you will say, "from an angry 
man?" Why, he knows very well that he will draw deep 
draughts of praise from the same fountain, from which he 
has been already — though sparingly — ^bespattered. Lastly, 
he is a man very acute and farseeing: he knows very well 
that a man like you — far and away the greatest noble in an 
important district of Italy, and in the state at large the equal 
of anyone of your generation, however eminent, whether 
in ability or popularity or reputation among the Roman 
people — cannot much longer be debarred from taking part 
in public affairs. He will be unwilling that you should, as 
you would sooner or later, have time to thank for this rather 
than his favour. 

So much for Caesar. Now I will speak of the nature of 
the actual situation. There is no one so bitterly opposed 
to the cause, which Pompey undertook with better inten- 
tions than provisions, as to venture to call us bad citizens 
or dishonest men. On this head I am always struck with 
astonishment at Caesar's sobriety, fairness, and wisdom. He 
never speaks of Pompey except in the most respectful terms. 
"But," you will say, "in regard to him as a public man his 
actions have often been bitter enough." Those were acts 
of war and victory, not of Caesar. But see with what open 
arms he has received us ! Cassius he has made his legate ; 
Brutus governor of Gaul; Sulpicius of Greece; Marcellus, 
with whom he was more angry than with anyone, he has re- 
stored with the utmost consideration for his rank. To what, 
then, does all this tend? The nature of things and of the 
political situation will not suffer, nor will any constitutional 
theory — whether it remain as it is or is changed — permit, 
first, that the civil and personal position of all should not 
be alike when the merits of their cases are the same; and, 
secondly, that good men and good citizens of unblemished 
character should not return to a state, into which so many 


have returned after having been condemned of atrocious 

That is my prediction. If I had felt any doubt about it 
I would not have employed it in preference to a consolation 
vi^hich w^ould have easily enabled me to support a man of 
spirit. It is this. If you had taken up arms for the Republic 
— for so you then thought — with the full assurance of vic- 
tory, you would not deserve special commendation. But if, 
in view of the uncertainty attaching to all wars, you had 
taken into consideration the possibility of our being beaten, 
you ought not, while fully prepared to face success, to 
be yet utterly unable to endure failure. I would have urged 
also what a consolation the consciousness of your action, 
what a delightful distraction in adversity, literature ought 
to be. I would have recalled to your mind the signal dis- 
asters not only of men of old times, but of those of our own 
day also, whether they were your leaders or your comrades. 
I would even have named many cases of illustrious for- 
eigners: for the recollection of what I may call a common 
law and of the conditions of human existence softens grief. 
I would also have explained the nature of our life here in 
Rome, how bewildering the disorder, how universal the 
chaos: for it must needs cause less regret to be absent from 
a state in disruption, than from one well-ordered. But 
there is no occasion for anything of this sort. I shall soon 
see yoM, as I hope, or rather as I clearly perceive, in en- 
joyment of your civil rights. Meanwhile, to you in your 
absence, as also to your son who is here — the express image 
of your soul and person, and a man of unsurpassable firm- 
ness and excellence — I have long ere this both promised and 
tendered practically my zeal, duty, exertions, and labours: 
all the more so now that Caesar daily receives me with more 
open arms, while his intimate friends distinguish me above 
everyone. Any influence or favour I may gain with him 
I will employ in your service. Be sure, for your part, to sup- 
port yourself not only with courage, but also with the bright- 
est hopes. 



Servius Sulpicius to Cicero (at Astura) 
Athens (March) 

When I received the news of your daughter Tullia's 
death, I was indeed much grieved and distressed as I was 
bound to be, and looked upon it as a calamity in which I 
shared. For, if I had been at home, I should not have failed 
to be at your side, and should have made my sorrow plain 
to you face to face. That kind of consolation involves much 
distress and pain, because the relations and friends, whose 
part it is to offer it, are themselves overcome by an equal sor- 
row. They cannot attempt it without many tears, so that 
they seem to require consolation themselves rather than to 
be able to afford it to others. Still I have decided to set 
down briefly for your benefit such thoughts as have occurred 
to my mind, not because I suppose them to be unknown 
to you, but because your sorrow may perhaps hinder you 
from being so keenly alive to them. 

Why is it that a private grief should agitate you so deeply? 
Think how fortune has hitherto dealt with us. Reflect that 
we have had snatched from us what ought to be no less 
dear to human beings than their children — country, honour, 
rank, every political distinction. What additional wound to 
your feelings could be inflicted by this particular loss? Or 
where is the heart that should not by this time have lost all 
sensibility and learn to regard everything else as of minor 
importance? Is it on her account, pray, that you sorrow? 
How many times have you recurred to the thought — and I 
have often been struck with the same idea — that in times 
like these theirs is far from being the worst fate to whom it 
has been granted to exchange life for a painless death? 
Now what was there at such an epoch that could greatly 
tempt her to live? What scope, what hope, what heart's 
solace? That she might spend her life with some young 
and distinguished husband? How impossible for a man of 
your rank to select from the present generation of young 
men a son-in-law, to whose honour you might think your- 
self safe in trusting your child ! Was it that she might bear 


children to cheer her with the sight of their vigorous youth? 
who might by their own character maintain the position 
handed down to them by their parent, might be expected to 
stand for the offices in their order, might exercise their 
freedom in supporting their friends? What single one of 
these prospects has not been taken away before it was given? 
But, it will be said, after all it is an evil to lose one's 
children. Yes, it is: only it is a worse one to endure and 
submit to the present state of things. 

I wish to mention to you a circumstance which gave me 
no common consolation, on the chance of its also proving 
capable of diminishing your sorrow. On my voyage from 
Asia, as I was sailing from ^gina towards Megara, I began 
to survey the localities that were on every side of me. Be- 
hind me was ^gina, in front Megara, on the right Piraeus, 
on my left Corinth: towns which at one time were most 
flourishing, but now lay before my eyes in ruin and decay. 
I began to reflect to myself thus : "Hah ! do we mannikins 
feel rebellious if one of us perishes or is killed — we whose 
life ought to be still shorter — when the corpses of so many 
towns lie in helpless ruin ? Will you please, Servius, restrain 
yourself and recollect that you are born a mortal man?" 
Believe me, I was no little strengthened by that reflection. 
Now take the trouble, if you agree with me, to put this 
thought before your eyes. Not long ago all those most 
illustrious men perished at one blow: the empire of the 
Roman people suffered that huge loss: all the provinces 
were shaken to their foundations. If you have become the 
poorer by the frail spirit of one poor girl, are you agitated 
thus violently? If she had not died now, she would yet 
have had to die a few years hence, for she was mortal born. 
You, too, withdraw soul and thought from such things and 
rather remember those which become the part you have 
played in life: that she lived as long as life had anything to 
give her; that her life outlasted that of the Republic; that 
she lived to see you — her own father — praetor, consul, and 
augur; that she married young men of the highest rank; 
that she had enjoyed nearly every possible blessing; that, 
when the Republic fell, she departed from life. What fault 
have you or she to find with fortune on this score? In fine, 


do not forget that you are Cicero, and a man accustomed 
to instruct and advise others; and do not imitate bad 
physicians, who in the diseases of others profess to under- 
stand the art of healing, but are unable to prescribe for 
themselves. Rather suggest to yourself and bring home to 
your own mind the very maxims which you are accustomed 
to impress upon others. There is no sorrow beyond the 
power of time at length to diminish and soften: it is a re- 
flexion on you that you should wait for this period, and not 
rather anticipate that result by the aid of your wisdom. But 
if here is any consciousness still existing in the world below, 
such was her love for you and her dutiful affection for all 
her family, that she certainly does not wish you to act as you 
are acting. Grant this to her — ^your lost one! Grant it 
to your friends and comrades who mourn with you in your 
sorrow! Grant it to your country, that if the need arises 
she may have the use of your services and advice. 

Finally — since we are reduced by fortune to the neces- 
sity of taking precautions on this point also — do not allow 
anyone to think that you are not mourning so much for your 
daughter as for the state of public affairs and the victory 
of others. I am ashamed to say any more to you on this 
subject, lest I should appear to distrust your wisdom. There- 
fore I will only make one suggestion before bringing my 
letter to an end. We have seen you on many occasions 
bear good fortune with a noble dignity which greatly en- 
hanced your fame: now is the time for you to convince 
us that you are able to bear bad fortune equally well, and 
that it does not appear to you to be a heavier burden than 
you ought to think it. I would not have this to be the only 
one of all the virtues that you do not possess. 

As far as I am concerned, when I learn that your mind 
is more composed, I will write you an account of what is 
going on here, and of the condition of the province. 



To Servius Sulpicius Rufus (in Achaia) 

FicuLEA (April) 

Yes, indeed, my dear Servius, I would have wished — as 
you say — that you had been by my side at the time of my 
grievous loss. How much help your presence might have 
given me, both by consolation and by your taking an almost 
equal share in my sorrow, I can easily gather from the fact 
that after reading your letter I experienced a great feeling 
of relief. For not only was what you wrote calculated to 
soothe a mourner, but in offering me consolation you 
manifested no slight sorrow of heart yourself. Yet, after all, 
your son Servius by all the kindness of which such a 
time admitted made it evident, both how much he person- 
ally valued me, and how gratifying to you he thought such 
affection for me would be. His kind offices have of course 
often been pleasanter to me, yet never more acceptable. 
For myself again, it is not only your words and (I had 
almost said) your partnership in my sorrow that consoles 
me, it is your character also. For I think it a disgrace that 
I should not bear my loss as you — a man of such wisdom — 
think it should be borne. But at times I am taken by sur- 
prise and scarcely offer any resistance to my grief, because 
those consolations fail me, which were not wanting in a 
similar misfortune to those others, whose examples I put 
before my eyes. For instance, Quintus Maximus, who lost 
a son who had been consul and was of illustrious character 
and brilliant achievements, and Lucius Paullus, who lost 
two within seven days, and your kinsman Gallus and M. 
Cato, who each lost a son of the highest character and 
valour, — all lived in circumstances which permitted their 
own great position, earned by their public services, to as- 
suage their grief. In my case, after losing the honours 
which you yourself mention, and which I had gained by the 
greatest possible exertions, there was only that one solace 
left which has now been torn away. My sad musings were 
not interrupted by the business of my friends, nor by the 
management of public affairs: there was nothing I cared 


to do in the forum: I could not bear the sight of the senate- 
house; I thought — as was the fact — that I had lost all the 
fruits both of my industry and of fortune. But while I 
thought that I shared these losses with you and certain others, 
and while I was conquering my feelings and forcing myself 
to bear them with patience, I had a refuge, one bosom where 
I could find repose, one in whose conversation and sweet- 
ness I could lay aside all anxieties and sorrows. But now, 
after such a crushing blow as this, the wounds which seemed 
to have healed break out afresh. For there is no republic 
now to offer me a refuge and a consolation by its good for- 
tunes when I leave my home in sorrow, as there once was a 
home to receive me when I returned saddened by the state 
of public affairs. Hence I absent myself both from home 
and forum, because home can no longer console the sorrow 
which public affairs cause me, nor public affairs that which 
I suffer at home. All the more I look forward to your com- 
ing, and long to see you as soon as possible. No reasoning 
can give me greater solace than a renewal of our inter- 
course and conversation. However, I hope your arrival 
is approaching, for that is what I am told. For myself, 
while I have many reasons for wishing. to see you as soon 
as possible, there is this one especially — that we may discuss 
beforehand on what principles we should live through this 
period of entire submission to the will of one man who is at 
once wise and liberal, far, as I think I perceive, from being 
hostile to me, and very friendly to you. But though that 
is so, yet it is a matter for serious thought what plans, I 
don't say of action, but of passing a quiet life by his leave 
and kindness, we should adopt. Good-bye. 


To Atticus (at Rome) 

PuTEOLi, 21 December 

Well, I have no reason after all to repent my formidable 
guest ! For he made himself exceedingly pleasant. But on 
his arrival at the villa of Philippus on the evening of the 


second day of the Saturnalia, the villa was so choke full of 
soldiers that there was scarcely a dining-room left for 
Caesar himself to dine in. Two thousand men, if you please ! 
I was in a great taking as to what was to happen the next 
day; and so Cassius Barba came to my aid and gave me 
guards. A camp was pitched in the open, the villa was 
put in a state of defence. He stayed with Philippus on the 
third day of the Saturnalia till one o'clock, without admitting 
anyone. He was engaged on his accounts, I think, with 
Balbus. Then he took a walk on the beach. After two he 
went to the bath. Then he heard about Mamurra without 
changing countenance. He was anointed: took his place at 
the table. He was under a course of emetics, and so ate and 
drank without scruple and as suited his taste. It was a very 
good dinner, and well served, and not only so, but 

"Well cooked, well seasoned food, with rare discourse : 
A banquet in a word to cheer the heart." 

Besides this, the staff were entertained in three rooms in a 
very liberal style. The freedmen of lower rank and the 
slaves had everything they could want. But the upper sort 
had a really recherche dinner. In fact, I shewed that I 
was somebody. However, he is not a guest to whom one 
would say, "Pray look me up again on your way back." 
Once is enough. We didn't say a word about politics. There 
was plenty of literary talk. In short, he was pleased and 
enjoyed himself. He said he should stay one day at Puteoli, 
another at Baise. That's the story of the entertainment, or I 
might call it the billeting on me — trying to the temper, but 
not seriously inconvenient. I am staying on here for a 
short time and then go to Tusculum. When he was passing 
Dolabella's villa, the whole guard formed up on the right 
and left of his horse, and nowhere else. This I was told 
by Nicias. 



To Atticus (at Rome) 

Matius's Suburban Villa, 7 April 

I HAVE come on a visit to the man, of whom I was talking 
to you this morning. His view is that "the state of things 
is perfectly shocking: that there is no way out of the em- 
broglio. For if a man of Caesar's genius failed, who can 
hope to succeed?" In short, he says that the ruin is com- 
plete. I am not sure that he is wrong; but then he rejoices 
in it, and declares that within twenty days there will be a 
rising in Gaul : that he has not had any conversation with 
anyone except Lepidus since the Ides of March: finally 
that these things can't pass off like this. What a wise 
man Oppius is, who regrets Caesar quite as much, but yet 
says nothing that can offend any loyalist! But enough of 
this. Pray don't be idle about writing me word of any- 
thing new, for I expect a great deal. Among other things, 
whether we can rely on Sextus Pompeius; but above all 
about our friend Brutus, of whom my host says that Caesar 
was in the habit of remarking: "It is of great importance 
what that man wishes; at any rate, whatever he wishes 
he wishes strongly": and that he noticed, when he was 
pleading for Deiotarus at Nicaea, that he seemed to speak 
with great spirit and freedom. Also — for I like to jot down 
things as they occur to me — that when on the request of 
Sestius I went to Caesar's house, and was sitting waiting till 
I was called in, he remarked: "Can I doubt that I am ex- 
ceedingly disliked, when Marcus Cicero has to sit waiting 
and cannot see me at his own convenience? And yet if 
there is a good-natured man in the world it is he ; still I feel 
no doubt that he heartily dislikes me." This and a good 
deal of the same sort. But to my purpose. Whatever the 
news, small as well as great, write and tell me of it. I will 
on my side let nothing pass. 



To Atticus (at Rome) 

AsTURA, II June 

At length a letter-carrier from my son ! And, by Hercules, 
a letter elegantly expressed, shewing in itself some progress. 
Others also give me excellent reports of him. Leonides, 
however, still sticks to his favourite "at present." But 
Herodes speaks in the highest terms of him. In short, 1 
am glad even to be deceived in this matter, and am not sorry 
to be credulous. Pray let me know if Statius has written 
to you anything of importance to me. 


To Atticus (at Rome) 
AsTURA, 13 June 

Confound Lucius Antonius, if he makes himself trouble- 
some to the Buthrotians ! I have drawn out a deposition 
which shall be signed and sealed whenever you please. As 
for the money of the Arpinates, if the sedile L. Fadius asks 
for it, pay him back every farthing. In a previous letter I 
mentioned to you a sum of no sestertia to be paid to Statius. 
If, then, Fadius applies for the money, I wish it paid to 
him, and to no one except Fadius. I think that amount 
was put into my hands, and I have written to Eros to pro- 
duce it. 

I can't stand the Queen: and the voucher for her prom- 
ises, Hammonius, knows that I have good cause for saying 
so. What she promised, indeed, were all things of the 
learned sort and suitable to my character — such as I could 
avow even in a public meeting. As for Sara, besides find- 
ing him to be an unprincipled rascal, I also found him in- ' 
clined to give himself airs to me. I only saw him once at 
my house. And when I asked him politely what I could do 
for him, he said that he had come in hopes of finding Atticus. 
The Queen's insolence, too, when she was living in Caesar's 
trans-Tiberine villa, I cannot recall without a pang. I won't 


have anything to do therefore with that lot. They think 
not so much that I have no spirit, as that I have scarcely 
any proper pride at all. My leaving Italy is hindered by 
Eros's way of doing business. For whereas from the bal- 
ances struck by him on the 5th of April I ought to be well 
off, I am obliged to borrow, while the receipts from those 
paying properties of mine I think have been put aside for 
building the shrine. But I have charged Tiro to see to all 
this, whom I am sending to Rome for the express purpose. 

I did not wish to add to your existing embarrassments. 
The steadier the conduct of my son, the more I am vexed 
at his being hampered. For he never mentioned the sub- 
ject to me — the first person to whom he should have done so. 
But he said in a letter to Tiro that he had received nothing 
since the ist of April — for that was the end of his financial 
year. Now I know that your own kind feeling always caused 
you to be of opinion that he ought to be treated not only 
with liberality, but with splendour and generosity, and that 
you also considered that to be due to my position. Where- 
fore pray see — I would not have troubled you if I could 
have done it through anyone else — that he has a bill of ex- 
change at Athens for his year's allowance. Eros will pay 
you the money. I am sending Tiro on that business. Pray 
■therefore see to it, and write and tell me any idea you may 
have on the subject. 


To C. Trebatius Testa (at Rome) 

TuscuLUM (June) 

You jeered at me yesterday amidst our cups, for having said 
that it was a disputed point whether an heir could lawfully 
prosecute on an embezzlement which had been committed 
before he became the owner. Accordingly, though I returned 
home full of wine and late in the evening, I marked the 
section in which that question is treated and caused it to be 
copied out and sent to you. I wanted to convince you that 
the doctrine which you said was held by no one was main- 


tained by Sextus ^lius, Manius Manilius, Marcus Brutus. 
Nevertheless, I concur with Scaevola and Testa. 


M. Cicero (the Younger) to Tiro 

Athens (August) 

After I had been anxiously expecting letter-carriers day 
after day, at length they arrived forty-six days after they left 
you. Their arrival vi^as most welcome to me: for while I 
took the greatest possible pleasure in the letter of the kindest 
and most beloved of fathers, still your most delightful letter 
put a finishing stroke to my joy. So I no longer repent 
of having suspended writing for a time, but am rather re- 
joiced at it; for I have reaped a great reward in your kind- 
ness from my pen having been silent. I am therefore ex- 
ceedingly glad that you have unhesitatingly accepted my 
excuse. I am sure, dearest Tiro, that the reports about 
me which reach you answer your best wishes and hopes. I 
will make them good, and will do my best that this belief in 
me, which day by day becomes more and more en evidence, 
shall be doubled. Wherefore you may with confidence and 
assurance fulfil your promise of being the trumpeter of my 
reputation. For the errors of my youth have caused me so 
much remorse and suffering, that not only does my heart 
shrink from what I did, my very ears abhor the mention of 
it. And of this anguish and sorrow I know and am assured 
that you have taken your share. And I don't wonder at it! 
for while you wished me all success for my sake, you did so 
also for your own; for I have ever meant you to be my 
partner in all my good fortunes. Since, therefore, you have 
suffered sorrow through me, I will now take care that 
through me your joy shall be doubled. Let me assure you 
that my very close attachment to Cratippus is that of a 
son rather than a pupil: for though I enjoy his lectures, I 
am also specially charmed with his delightful manners. I 
spend whole days with him, and often part of the night: for 
I induce him to dine with me as often as possible. This 


intimacy having been established, he often drops in upon us 
unexpectedly while we are at dinner, and laying aside the 
stiff airs of a philosopher joins in our jests with the greatest 
possible freedom. He is such a man — so delightful, so dis- 
tinguished — that you should take pains to make his ac- 
quaintance at the earliest possible opportunity. I need 
hardly mention Bruttius, whom I never allow to leave my 
side. He is a man of a strict and moral life, as well as being 
the most delightful company. For in him fun is not divorced 
from literature and the daily philosophical inquiries which 
we make in common. I have hired a residence next door 
to him, and as far as I can with my poor pittance I sub- 
sidize his narrow means. Farthermore, I have begun prac- 
tising declamation in Greek with Cassius; in Latin I like 
having my practice with Bruttius. My intimate friends and 
daily company are those whom Cratippus brought with him 
from Mirylene — good scholars, of whom he has the highest 
opinion. I also see a great deal of Epicrates, the leading 
man at Athens, and Leonides, and other men of that sort. 
So now you know how I am going on. 

You remark in your letter on the character of Gorgias. 
The fact is, I found him very useful in my daily practice of 
declamation; but I subordinated everything to obeying my 
father's injunctions, for he had written ordering me to give 
him up at once. I wouldn't shilly-shally about the business, 
for fear my making a fuss should cause my father to har- 
bour some suspicion. Moreover, it occurred to me that it 
would be offensive for me to express an opinion on a de- 
cision of my father's. However, your interest and advice are 
welcome and acceptable. Your apology for lack of time I 
quite accept; for I know how busy you always are. I am 
very glad that you have bought an estate, and you have my 
best wishes for the success of your purchase. Don't be sur- 
prised at my congratulations coming in at this point in my 
letter, for it was at the corresponding point in yours that 
you told me of your purchase. You are a man of property ! 
You must drop your city manners: you have become a Ro- 
man country-gentleman. How clearly I have your dearest 
face before my eyes at this moment ! For I seem to see you 
buying things for the farm, talking to your bailiff, saving the 


seeds at dessert in the corner of your cloak. But as to the 
matter of money, I am as sorry as you that I was not on 
the spot to help you. But do not doubt, my dear Tiro, of 
my assisting you in the future, if fortune does but stand by 
me; especially as I know that this estate has been purchased 
for our joint advantage. As to my commissions about which 
you are taking trouble — many thanks ! But I beg you to 
send me a secretary at the earliest opportunity — if possi- 
ble a Greek; for he will save me a great deal of trouble in 
copying out notes. Above all, take care of your health, that 
we may have some literary talk together hereafter. I com- 
mend Anteros to you. 


QuiNTus Cicero to Tiro 

(Time and place uncertain) 

I have castigated you, at least with the silent reproach of 
my thoughts, because this is the second packet that has 
arrived without a letter from you. You cannot escape the 
penalty for this crime by your own advocacy: you will have 
to call Marcus to your aid, and don't be too sure that even 
he, though he should compose a speech after long study and 
a great expenditure of midnight oil, would be able to estab- 
lish your innocence. In plain terms, I beg you to do as I 
remember my mother used to do. It was her custom to 
put a seal on wine-jars even when empty to prevent any 
being labelled empty that had been surreptitiously drained. 
In the same way, I beg you, even if you have nothing to 
write about, to write all the same, lest you be thought to have 
sought a cover for idleness : for I always find the news in 
your letters trustworthy and welcome. Love me, and good- 



To M. luNius Brutus (in Macedonia) 

Rome (middle of July) 

You have Messalla with you. What letter, therefore, can 
I write with such minute care as to enable me to explain to 
you what is being done and what is occurring in public 
affairs, more thoroughly than he will describe them to you, 
who has at once the most intimate knowledge of everything, 
and the talent for unfolding and conveying it to you in the 
best possible manner? For beware of thinking, Brutus 
— for though it is unnecessary for me to write to you 
what you know already, yet I cannot pass over in silence 
such eminence in every kind of greatness — beware of think- 
ing, I say, that he has any parallel in honesty and firmness, 
care and zeal for the Republic. So much so that in him 
eloquence — in which he is extraordinarily eminent — scarcely 
seems to offer any opportunity for praise. Yet in this accom- 
plishment itself his wisdom is made more evident; with 
such excellent judgment and with so much acuteness has he 
practised himself in the most genuine style of rhetoric. Such 
also is his industry, and so great the amount of midnight 
labour that he bestows on this study, that the chief thanks 
would not seem to be due to natural genius, great as it 
is in his case. But my affection carries me away: for it is 
not the purpose of this letter to praise Mesalla, especially to 
Brutus, to whom his excellence is not less known than it is 
to me, and these particular accomplishments of his which I 
am praising even better. Grieved as I was to let him go 
from my side, my one consolation was that in going to you 
who are to me a second self, he was performing a duty and 
following the path of the truest glory. But enough of this. 
I now come, after a long interval of time, to a certain letter 
of yours, in which, while paying me many compliments, you 
find one fault with me — that I was excessive and, as it were, 
extravagant in proposing votes of honour. That is your 
criticism: another's, perhaps, might be that I was too stern 
in inflicting punishment and exacting penalties, unless by 
chance you blame me for both. If that is so, I desire that 


my principle in both these things should be very clearly 
known to you. And I do not rely solely on the dictum of 
Solon, who was at once the wisest of the Seven and the only 
lawgiver among them. He said that a state was kept to- 
gether by two things — reward and punishment. Of course 
there is a certain moderation to be observed in both, as in 
everything else, and what we may call a golden mean in 
both these things. But I have no intention to dilate on such 
an important subject in this place. 

But what has been my aim during this war in the motions 
I have made in the senate I think it will not be out of place 
to explain. After the death of Csesar and your ever memor- 
able Ides of March, Brutus, you have not forgotten what I 
said had been omitted by you and your colleagues, and what 
a heavy cloud I declared to be hanging over the Republic. A 
great pest had been removed by your means, a great blot on 
the Roman people wiped out, immense glory in truth acquired 
by yourselves : but an engine for exercising kingly power had 
been put into the hands of Lepidus and Antony, of whom the 
former was the more fickle of the two, the latter the more 
corrupt, but both of whom dreaded peace and were enemies 
to quiet. Against these men, inflamed with the ambition of 
revolutionizing the state, we had no protecting force to 
oppose. For the fact of the matter was this: the state had 
become roused as one man to maintain its liberty; I at the 
time was even excessively warlike; you, perhaps with more 
wisdom, quitted the city which you had liberated, and when 
Italy offered you her services declined them. Accordingly, 
when I saw the city in the possession of parricides, and that 
neither you nor Cassius could remain in it with safety, and 
that it was held down by Antony's armed guards, I thought 
that I too ought to leave it : for a city held down by traitors, 
with all opportunity of giving aid cut off, was a shocking 
spectacle. But the same spirit as always had animated me, 
staunch to the love of country, did not admit the thought of 
a departure from its dangers. Accordingly, in the very midst 
of my voyage to Achaia, when in the period of the Etesian 
gales a south wind — as though remonstrating against my 
design — had brought me back to Italy, I saw you at Velia 
and was much distressed : for you were on the point of leav- 


ing the country, Brutus — leaving it, I say, for our friends 
the Stoics deny that wise men ever " flee." As soon as I 
reached Rome I at once threw myself in opposition to 
Antony's treason and insane policy : and having roused his 
wrath against m.e, I began entering upon a policy truly 
Brutus-like — for this is the distinctive mark of your family 
— that of freeing my country. The rest of the story is too 
long to tell, and must be passed over by me, for it is about 
myself. I will only say this much: that this young Caesar, 
thanks to whom we still exist, if we would confess the truth, 
was a stream from the fountain-head of my policy. To him 
I voted honours, none indeed, Brutus, that were not his due, 
none that were not inevitable. For directly we began the 
recovery of liberty, when the divine excellence of even 
Decimus Brutus had not yet bestirred itself sufficiently to 
give us an indication of the truth, and when our sole pro- 
tection depended on the boy who had shaken Antony from 
our shoulders, what honour was there that he did not de- 
serve to have decreed to him? However, all I then pro- 
posed for him was a complimentary vote of thanks, and that 
too expressed with moderation. I also proposed a decree 
conferring imperium on him, which, although it seemed too 
great a compliment for one of his age, was yet necessary for 
one commanding an army — for what is an army without a 
commander with imperium? Philippus proposed a statue; 
Servius at first proposed a license to stand for office before 
the regular time. Servilius afterwards proposed that the 
time should be still farther curtailed. At that time nothing 
was thought too good for him. 

But somehow men are more easily found who are liberal 
at a time of alarm, than grateful when victory has been won. 
For when that most joyful day of Decimus Brutus's relief 
from blockade had dawned on the Republic and happened 
also to be his birthday, I proposed that the name of Brutus 
should be entered in the fasti under that date. And in that 
I followed the example of our ancestors, who paid this 
honour to the woman Laurentia, at whose altar in the 
Velabrum you pontiffs are accustomed to offer service. And 
when I proposed this honor to Brutus I wished that there 
should be in the fasti an eternal memorial of a most welcome 


victory: and yet on that very day I discovered that the ill- 
disposed in the senate were somewhat in a majority over the 
grateful. In the course of those same days I lavished 
honours — if you like that word — upon the dead Hirtius, 
Pansa, and even Aquila. And who has any fault to find 
with that, unless he be one who, no sooner an alarm is over, 
forgets the past danger? There was added to this grateful 
memorial of a benefit received some consideration of what 
would be for the good of posterity also; for I wished that 
there should exist some perpetual record of the popular 
execration of our most ruthless enemies. I suspect that the 
next step does not meet with your approbation. It was dis- 
approved by your friends, who are indeed most excellent 
citizens, but inexperienced in public business. I mean my 
proposing an ovation for Caesar. For myself, however — 
though I am perhaps wrong, and I am not a man who be- 
lieves his own way necessarily right — I think that in the 
course of this war I never took a more prudent step. The 
reason for this I must not reveal, lest I should seem to have 
a sense of favours to come rather than to be grateful for 
those received. I have said too much already: let us look 
at other points. I proposed honours to Decimus Brutus, 
and also to Lucius Plancus. Those indeed are noble spirits 
whose spur to action is glory: but the senate also is wise to 
avail itself of any means — provided that they are honourable 
■ — by which it thinks that a particular man can be induced 
to support the Republic. But — you say — I am blamed in re- 
gard to Lepidus : for, having placed his statue on the rostra, 
I also voted for its removal. I tried by paying him a 
compliment to recall him from his insane policy. The in- 
fatuation of that most unstable of men rendered my pru- 
dence futile. Yet all the same more good was done by 
demolishing the statue of Lepidus, than harm by putting 
it up. 

Enough about honours; now I must say a few words 
about penalties. For I have gathered from frequent expres- 
sions in your letters that in regard to those whom you have 
conquered in war, you desire that your clemency should be 
praised. I hold, indeed, that you do and say nothing but 
what becomes a philosopher. But to omit the punishment 


of a crime — for that is what ** pardoning " amounts to — even 
if it is endurable in other cases, is mischievous in a war Hke 
this. For there has been no civil war, of all that have 
occurred in the state within my memory, in which there was 
not certain to be some form of constitution remaining, 
whichever of the two sides prevailed. In this war, if we are 
victorious, I should not find it easy to afiirm what kind of 
constitution we are likely to have; if we are conquered, 
there will certainly never be any. I therefore proposed 
severe measures against Antony, and severe ones also against 
Lepidus, and not so much out of revenge as in order that I 
might for the present prevent unprincipled men by this 
terror from attacking their country, and might for the future 
establish a warning for all who were minded to imitate their 

However, this proposal was not mine more than it was 
everybody's. The point in it which had the appearance of 
cruelty was that the penalty extended to the children who 
did not deserve any. But that is a thing of long standing 
and characteristic of all states. For instance, the children 
of Themistocles were in poverty. And if the same penalty 
attaches to citizens legally condemned in court, how could 
we be more indulgent to public enemies? What, moreover, 
can anyone say against me when he must confess that, had 
that man conquered, he would have been still more revenge- 
ful towards me ? 

Here you have the principles which dictated my senatorial 
proposals, at any rate in regard to this class of honours and 
penalties. For, in regard to other matters, I think you have 
been told what opinions I have expressed and what votes I 
have given. But all this is not so very pressing. What is 
really pressing, Brutus, is that you should come to Italy with 
your army as soon as possible. There is the greatest anxiety 
for your arrival. Directly you reach Italy all classes will 
flock to you. For whether we win the victory — and we had 
in fact won a most glorious one, only that Lepidus set his 
heart on ruining everything and perishing himself with all 
his friends — there will be need of your counsel in establish- 
ing some form of constitution. And even if there is still 
some fighting left to be done, our greatest hope is both in 


your personal influence and in the material strength of your 
army. But make haste, in God's name ! You know the 
importance of seizing the right moment, and of rapidity. 
What pains I am taking in the interests of your sister's 
children, I hope you know from the letters of your mother 
and sister. In undertaking their cause I shew more regard 
to your affection, which is very precious to me, than, as 
some think, to my own consistency. But there is nothing 
in which I more wish to be and to seem consistent than in 
loving you. 








Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus, usually known as Pliny 
the Younger, was born at Como in 62 A. D. He was only eight 
years old when his father Caecilius died, and he was adopted by 
his uncle, the elder Pliny, author of the Natural History. He 
was carefully educated, studying rhetoric under Quintilian and 
other famous teachers, and he became the most eloquent pleader 
of his time. In this and in much else he imitated Cicero, who 
had by this time come to be the recognised master of Latin style. 
While still young he served as military tribune in Syria, but he 
does not seem to have taken zealously to a soldier's life. On 
his return he entered politics under the Emperor Domitian; and 
in the year 100 A. D. was appointed consul by Trajan and ad- 
mitted to confidential intercourse with that emperor. Later while 
he zvas governor of Bithynia, he was in the habit of submitting 
every point of policy to his master, and the correspondence be- 
tween Trajan and him, which forms the last part of the present 
selection, is of a high degree of interest, both on account of 
the subjects discussed and for the light thrown on the characters 
of the two men. He is supposed to have died about 113 A. D. 
Pliny's speeches are now lost, with the exception of one, a pafie- 
gyric on Trajan delivered in thanksgiving for the consulate. This, 
though diffuse and somewhat too complimentary for modern 
taste, became a model for this kind of composition. The others 
were mostly of two classes, forensic and political, many of the 
latter being, like Cicero's speech against Verres, impeachments 
of provincial governors for cruelty and extortion toward their 
subjects. In these, as in his public activities in general, he appears 
as a man of public spirit and integrity ; and in his relations with 
his native town he was a thoughtful and munificent benefactor. 

The letters, on which to-day his fame mainly rests, were largely 
written with a view to publication, and were arranged by Pliny 
himself. They thus lack the spontaneity of Cicero's impulsive ut- 
terances, but to most modern readers who are not special students 
of Roman history they are even more interesting. They deal with 
a great variety of subjects: the description of a Roman villa; 
the charms of country life; the reluctance of people to attend 
authors!' readings and to listen when they were present ; a dinner 

193 7— HC IX 


party; legacy-hunting in ancient Rome; the acquisition of a 
piece of statuary; his love for his young wife; ghost stories; 
floating islands, a tame dolphin, and other marvels. But by 
far the best known are those describing the great eruption of 
Vesuvius in which his uncle perished, a martyr to scientific curi- 
osity, and the letter to Trajan on his attempts to suppress Chris- 
tianity in Bithynia, with Trajan's reply approving his policy. 
Taken altogether, these letters give an absorbingly vivid picture 
of the days of the early empire, and of the interests of a culti- 
vated Roman gentleman of wealth. Occasionally, as in the last 
letters referred to, they deal with important historical events; 
but their chief value is in bringing before us, in somewhat the 
same manner as "The Spectator" pictures the England of the 
age of Anne, the life of a time which is not so unlike our omm as 
its distance in years might indicate. And in this time by no 
means the least interesting figure is that of the letter-writer 
himself, with his vanity and self-importance, his sensibility and 
generous affection, his pedantry and his loyalty. 



I 1 

To Septitius 

YOU have frequently pressed me to make a select col- 
lection of my Letters (if there really be any deserv- 
ing of a special preference) and give them to the 
public. I have selected them accordingly; not, indeed, in 
their proper order of time, for I was not compiling a history ; 
but just as each came to hand. And now I have only to 
wish that you may have no reason to repent of your advice, 
nor I of my compliance: in that case, I may probably en- 
quire after the rest, which at present lie neglected, and pre- 
serve those I shall hereafter write. Farewell. 


To Arrianus 

I FORESEE your journey in my direction is likely to be de- 
layed, and therefore send you the speech which I promised in 
my former ; requesting you, as usual, to revise and correct it. 
I desire this the more earnestly as I never, I think, wrote 
with the same empressement in any of my former speeches; 
for I have endeavoured to imitate your old favourite Demos- 
thenes and Calvus, who is lately become mine, at least in the 
rhetorical forms of the speech; for to catch their sublime 
spirit, is given, alone, to the " inspired few." My subject, 
indeed, seemed naturally to lend itself to this (may I venture 


196 PLINY 

to call it?) emulation; consisting, as it did, almost entirely 
in a vehement style of address, even to a degree sufficient 
to have awakened me (if only I am capable of being awak- 
ened) out of that indolence in which I have long reposed. 
I have not however altogether neglected the flowers of 
rhetoric of my favourite Marc-Tully, wherever I could with 
propriety step out of my direct road, to enjoy a more flowery 
path: for it was energy, not austerity, at which I aimed. I 
would not have you imagine by this that I am bespeaking 
your indulgence : on the contrary, to make your correcting 
pen more vigorous, I will confess that neither my friends 
nor myself are averse from the publication of this piece, 
if only you should join in the approval of what is perhaps 
my folly. The truth is, as I must publish something, I wish 
it might be this performance rather than any other, because 
it is already finished: (you hear the wish of laziness.) At 
all events, however, something I must publish, and for many 
reasons; chiefly because of the tracts which I have already 
sent in to the world, though they have long since lost all 
their recommendation from novelty, are still, I am told, in 
request; if, after all, the booksellers are not tickling my 
ears. And let them; since, by that innocent deceit, I am 
encouraged to pursue my studies. Farewell. 



Did you ever meet with a more abject and mean-spirited 
creature than Marcus Regulus since the death of Domitian, 
during whose reign his conduct was no less infamous, though 
more concealed, than under Nero's? He began to be afraid 
I was angry with him, and his apprehensions were per- 
fectly correct; I was angry. He had not only done his 
best to increase the peril of the position in which Rustipus 
Arulenus^ stood, but had exulted in his death ; insomuch that 
he actually recited and published a libel upon his memory, 

1 A pupil and intimate friend of Paetus Thrasea, the distinguished Stoic 
philosopher. Arulenus was put to death by Domitian for writing a pane- 
gyric upon Thrasea. 


in which he styles him " The Stoics' Ape " : adding, " stig- 
mated' with the VitelHan scar."^ You recognize Regulus' 
eloquent strain ! He fell with such fury upon the character 
of Herennius Senecio that Metius Carus said to him, one 
day, " What business have you with my dead ? Did I ever 
interfere in the aiifair of Crassus* or Camerinus'^ ? " Victims, 
you know, to Regulus, in Nero's time. For these reasons 
he imagined I was highly exasperated, and so at the recita- 
tion of his last piece, I got no invitation. Besides, he had 
not forgotten, it seems, with what deadly purpose he had 
once attacked me in the Court of the Hundred.* Rusticus 
had desired me to act as counsel for Arionilla, Timon's wife: 
Regulus was engaged against me. In one part of the case 
I was strongly insisting upon a particular judgment given 
by Metius Modestus, an excellent man, at that time in ban- 
ishment by Domitian's order. Now then for Regulus. 
" Pray," says he, " what is your opinion of Modestus ? " 
You see what a risk I should have run had I answered that 
I had a high opinion of him, how I should have disgraced 
myself on the other hand if I had replied that I had a bad 
opinion of him. But some guardian power, I am persuaded, 
must have stood by me to assist me in this emergency. " I 
will tell you my opinion," I said, "if that is a matter to 
be brought before the court." " I ask you," he repeated, 
" what is your opinion of Modestus ? " I replied that it was 
customary to examine witnesses to the character of an 
accused man, not to the character of one on whom sentence 
had already been passed. He pressed me a third time. "I 
do not now enquire, said he, " your opinion of Modestus in 
general, I only ask your opinion of his loyalty." " Since 

2 The impropriety of this expression, in the original, seems to lie in the 
word stigmosum, which Regulus, probably either coined through affectation 
or used through ignorance. It is a word, at least, which does not occur in 
any author of authority: the translator has endeavoured, therefore, to pre- 
serve the same sort of impropriety, by using an expression of like un- 
warranted stamp in his own tongue. M. 

* An allusion to a wound he had received in the war between Vitellius 
and Vespasian. 

* A brother of Piso Galba's adopted son. He was put to death by Nero. 
^ Sulpicius Camerinus, put to death by the same emperor, upon some 

frivolous charge. 

"A select body of men who formed a court of judicature, called the 
centumviral court. Their jurisdiction extended chiefly, if not entirely, to 
questions of wills and intestate estates. Their number, it would seem, 
amounted to 105. M. 

198 PLINY 

you will have my opinion then," I rejoined, "I think it illegal 
even to ask a question concerning a person who stands con- 
victed." He sat down at this, completely silenced; and I 
received applause and congratulation on all sides, that with- 
out injuring my reputation by an advantageous, perhaps, 
though ungenerous answer, I had not entangled myself in 
the toils of so insidious a catch-question. Thoroughly fright- 
ened upon this then, he first seizes upon Caecilius Celer, next 
he goes and begs of Fabius Justus, that they would use their 
joint interest to bring about a reconciliation between us. 
And lest this should not be sufficient, he sets off to Spurinna 
as well; to whom he came in the humblest way (for he is 
the most abject creature alive, where he has anything to be 
afraid of) and says to him, " Do, I entreat of you, call on 
Pliny to-morrow morning, certainly in the morning, no later 
(for I cannot endure this anxiety of mind longer), and en- 
deavour by any means in your power to soften his resent- 
ment." I was already up, the next day, when a message 
arrived from Spurinna, " I am coming to call on you." I 
sent word back, " Nay, I will wait upon you; " however, 
both of us setting out to pay this visit, we met under Livia's 
portico. He acquainted me with the commission he had 
received from Regulus, and interceded for him as became 
so worthy a man in behalf of one so totally dissimilar, with- 
out greatly pressing the thing. " I will leave it to you," 
was my reply, " to consider what answer to return Regulus ; 
you ought not to be deceived by me. I am waiting for 
Mauricus''' return" (for he had not yet come back out of 
exile), "so that I cannot give you any definite answer 
either way, as I mean to be guided entirely by his decision, 
for he ought to be my leader here, and I simply to do as 
he says." Well, a few days after this, Regulus met me as 
I was at the praetor's ; he kept close to me there and begged 
a word in private, when he said he was afraid I deeply re- 
sented an expression he had once made use of in his reply 
to Satrius and myself, before the Court of the Hundred, 
to this effect, " Satrius Rufus, who does not endeavour to 

''Junius Mauricus, the brother of Rusticus Arulenus. Both brothers 
were sentenced on the same day, Arulenus to execution and Mauricus 
to banishment. 



rival Cicero, and who is content with the eloquence of our 
own day." I answered, now I perceived indeed, upon his 
own confession, that he had meant it ill-naturedly; other- 
wise it might have passed for a compliment. " For I am 
free to own," I said, " that I do endeavour to rival Cicero, 
and am not content with the eloquence of our own day. 
For I consider it the very height of folly not to copy the 
best models of every kind. But, how happens it that you, 
who have so good a recollection of what passed upon this 
occasion, should have forgotten that other, when you asked 
me my opinion of the loyalty of Modestus?" Pale as he 
always is, he turned simply pallid at this, and stammered 
out, " I did not intend to hurt you when I asked this ques- 
tion, but Modestus." Observe the vindictive cruelty of the 
fellow, who made no concealment of his willingness to in- 
jure a banished man. But the reason he alleged in justifi- 
cation of his conduct is pleasant. Modestus, he explained, 
in a letter of his, which was read to Domitian, had used 
the following expression, " Regulus, the biggest rascal that 
walks upon two feet:" and what Modestus had written was 
the simple truth, beyond all manner of controversy. Here, 
about, our conversation came to an end, for I did not wish 
to proceed further, being desirous to keep matters open until 
Mauricus returns. It is no easy matter, I am well aware 
of that, to destroy Regulus; he is rich, and at the head of 
a party; courted* by many, feared by more: a passion that 
will sometimes prevail even beyond friendship itself. But, 
after all, ties of this sort are not so strong but they may 
be loosened; for a bad man's credit is as shifty as himself. 
However (to repeat), I am waiting until Mauricus comes 
back. He is a man of sound judgment and great sagacity 
formed upon long experience, and who, from his obser- 
vations of the past, well knows how to judge of the future. 
I shall talk the matter over with him, and consider myself 
justified either in pursuing or dropping this affair, as he 

* There seems to have been a cast of uncommon blackness in the char- 
acter of this Regulus; otherwise the benevolent Pliny would scarcely have 
singled him out, as he has in this and some following letters, for the 
subject of his warmest contempt and indignation. Yet, infamous as he 
was, he had his flatterers and admirers; and a contemporary poet fre- 
quently represents him as one of the most finished characters of the age, 
both in eloquence and virtue. M. 

200 PLINY 

shall advise. Meanwhile I thought I owed this account to 
our mutual friendship, which gives you an undoubted right 
to know about not only all my actions but all my plans as 
well. Farewell. 

IV //• 

To Cornelius Tacitus 

You will laugh (and you are quite welcome) when I tell 
you that your old acquaintance is turned sportsman, and 
has taken three noble boars. *' What ! " you exclaim, 
" Pliny ! " — Even he. However, I indulged at the same time 
my beloved inactivity; and, whilst I sat at my nets, you 
would have found me, not with boar spear or javelin, but 
pencil and tablet, by my side. I mused and wrote, being 
determined to return, if with all my hands empty, at least 
with my memorandums full. Believe me, this way of study- 
ing is not to be despised: it is wonderful how the mind is 
stirred and quickened into activity by brisk bodily exercise. 
There is something, too, in the solemnity of the venerable 
woods with which one is surrounded, together with that pro- 
found silence which is observed on these occasions, that 
forcibly disposes the mind to meditation. So for the future, 
let me advise you, whenever you hunt, to take your tablets 
along with you, as well as your basket and bottle, for be 
assured you will find Minerva no less fond of traversing the 
hills than Diana. Farewell, 

To PoMPEius Saturninus 

Nothing could be more seasonable than the letter which 
I received from you, in which you so earnestly beg me to 
send you some of my literary efforts: the very thing I was 
intending to do. So you have only put spurs into a willing 
horse and at once saved yourself the excuse of refusing the 
trouble, and me the awkwardness of asking the favour. 
Without hesitation then I avail myself of your offer; as you 
must now take the consequence of it without reluctance. 
But you are not to expect anything new from a lazy fellow, 
for I am going to ask you to revise again the speech I made 


to my fellow-townsmen when I dedicated the public library 
to their use. You have already, I remember, obliged me 
with some annotations upon this piece, but only in a general 
way; and so I now beg of you not only to take a general 
view of the whole speech, but, as you usually do, to go over 
it in detail. When you have corrected it, I shall still be at 
liberty to publish or suppress it: and the delay in the 
nveantime will be attended with one of these alternatives; 
for, while we are deliberating whether it is fit for publishing, 
a frequent revision will either make it so, or convince me 
that it is not. Though indeed my principal difficulty re- 
specting the publication of this harangue arises not so much 
from the composition as out of the subject itself, which has 
something in it, I am afraid, that will look too like osten- 
tation and self-conceit. For, be the style ever so plain and 
unassuming, yet, as the occasion necessarily led me to speak 
not only of the munificence of my ancestors, but of my own 
as well, my modesty will be seriously embarrassed. A dan- 
gerous and slippery situation this, even when one is led 
into it by plea of necessity ! For, if mankind are not very 
favourable to panegyric, even when bestowed upon others, 
how much more difficult is it to reconcile them to it when 
it is a tribute which we pay to ourselves or to our ancestors ? 
Virtue, by herself, is generally the object of envy, but par- 
ticularly so when glory and distinction attend her; and the 
world is never so little disposed to detract from the rectitude 
of your conduct as when it passes unobserved and unap- 
plauded. For these reasons, I frequently ask myself whether 
I composed this harangue, such as it is, merely from a 
personal consideration, or with a view to the public as well ; 
and I am sensible that what may be exceedingly useful and 
proper in the prosecution of any affair may lose all its grace 
and fitness the moment the business is completed: for in- 
stance, in the case before us, what could be more to my pur- 
pose than to explain at large the motives of my intended 
bounty? For, first, it engaged my mind in good and en- 
nobling thoughts; next, it enabled me, by frequent dwelling 
upon them, to receive a perfect impression of their loveli- 
ness, while it guarded at the same time against that re- 
pentance which is sure to follow on an impulsive act of 

202 PLINY 

generosity. There arose also a further advantage from this 
method, as it fixed in me a certain habitual contempt of 
money. For^, while mankind seem to be universally gov- 
erned by an innate passion to accumulate wealth, the culti- 
vation of a more generous affection in my own breast taught 
me to emancipate myself from the slavery of so predominant 
a principle: and I thought that my honest intentions would 
be the more meritorious as they should appear to proceed, 
not from sudden impulse, but from the dictates of cool and 
deliberate reflection. I considered, besides, that I was not 
engaging myself to exhibit public games or gladiatorial 
combats, but to establish an annual fund for the support 
and education of young men of good families but scanty 
means. The pleasures of the senses are so far from wanting 
the oratorical arts to recommend them that we stand in 
need of all the powers of eloquence to moderate and re- 
strain rather than stir up their influence. But the work of 
getting anybody to cheerfully undertake the monotony and 
drudgery of education must be effected not by pay merely, 
but by a skilfully worked-up appeal to the emotions as well. 
If physicians find it expedient to use the most insinuating 
address in recommending to their patients a wholesome 
though, perhaps, unpleasant regimen, how much more occa- 
sion had he to exert all the powers of persuasion who, out 
of regard to the public welfare, was endeavouring to recon- 
cile it to a most useful though not equally popular bene- 
faction? Particularly, as my aim was to recommend an 
institution, calculated solely for the benefit of those who 
were parents to men who, at present, had no children ; and 
to persuade the greater number to wait patiently until they 
should be entitled to an honour of which a few only could 
immediately partake. But as at that time, when I attempted 
to explain and enforce the general design and benefit of 
my institution, I considered more the general good of my 
countrymen, than any reputation which might result to my- 
self; so I am apprehensive lest, if I publish that piece, it 
may perhaps look as if I had a view rather to my own per- 
sonal credit than the benefit of others. Besides, I am very 
sensible how much nobler it is to place the reward of virtue 
in the silent approbation of one's own breast than in the 


applause of the world. Glory ought to be the consequence, 
not the motive, of our actions; and although it happen not 
to attend the worthy deed, yet it is by no means the less fair 
for having missed the applause it deserved. But the world 
is apt to suspect that those who celebrate their own benefi- 
cent acts performed them for no other motive than to 
have the pleasure of extolling them. Thus, the splendour 
of an action which would have been deemed illustrious if 
related by another is totally extinguished when it becomes 
the subject of one's own applause. Such is the disposition 
of mankind, if they cannot blast the action, they will censure 
its display; and whether you do what does not deserve par- 
ticular notice, or set forth yourself what does, either way 
you incur reproach. In my own case there is a peculiar 
circumstance that weighs much with me: this speech was 
delivered not before the people, but the Decurii ;^ not in the 
forum, but the senate; I am afraid therefore it will look in- 
consistent that I, who, when I deHvered it, seemed to avoid 
popular applause, should now, by publishing this perform- 
■ ance, appear to court it : that I, who was so scrupulous as not 
to admit even these persons to be present when I delivered 
this speech, who were interested in my benefaction, lest it 
might be suspected I was actuated in this affair by any am- 
bitious views, should now seem to solicit admiration, by 
forwardly displaying it to such as have no other concern in 
my munificence than the benefit of example. These are the 
scruples which have occasioned my delay in giving this 
piece to the public; but I submit them entirely to your 
judgment, which I shall ever esteem as a sufficient sanc- 
tion of my conduct. Farewell. 


To Atrius Clemens 

If ever polite literature flourished at Rome, it certainly 
flourishes now; and I could give you many eminent in- 
stances: I will content myself, however, with naming only 

1 The Decurii were a sort of senators in the municipal or corporate cities 
of Italy. M. 

204 PLINY 

Euphrates/ the philosopher. I first became acquainted with 
this excellent person in my youth, when I served in the 
army in Syria. I had an opportunity of conversing with 
him familiarly, and took some pains to gain his affection: 
though that, indeed, was not very difficult, for he is easy 
of access, unreserved, and actuated by those social principles 
he professes to teach. I should think myself extremely 
happy if I had as fully answered the expectations he, at 
that time, conceived of me, as he exceeds everything I had 
imagined of him. But, perhaps, I admire his excellencies 
more now than I did then^ because I know better how to 
appreciate them; not that I sufficiently appreciate them 
even now. For as none but those who are skilled in 
painting, statuary, or the plastic art, can form a right 
judgment of any performance in those respective modes 
of representation, so a man must, himself, have made great 
advances in philosophy before he is capable of forming a 
just opinion of a philosopher. However, as far as I am 
qualified to determine, Euphrates is possessed of so many 
shining talents that he cannot fail to attract and impress 
the most ordinarily educated observer. He reasons with 
much force, acuteness, and elegance; and frequently rises 
into all the sublime and luxuriant eloquence of Plato. His 
style is varied and flowing, and at the same time so won- 
derfully captivating that he forces the reluctant attention 
of the most unwilling hearer. For the rest, a fine stature, 
a comely aspect, long hair, and a large silver beard ; circum- 
stances which, though they may probably be thought trifling 
and accidental, contribute, however, to gain him much 
reverence. There is no affected negligence in his dress 
and appearance ; his countenance is grave but not austere ; 
and his approach commands respect without creating awe. 
Distinguished as he is by the perfect blamelessness of his 
life, he is no less so by the courtesy and engaging sweetness 
of his manner. He attacks vices, not persons, and, without 
severity, reclaims the wanderer from the paths of virtue. 
You follow his exhortations with rapt attention, hanging, 

' " Euphrates was a native of Tyre, or, according to others, of Byzan- 
tium. He belonged to the Stoic school of philosophy. _ In his_ old age he 
became tired of life, and asked and obtained from Hadrian permission to put 
an end to himself by poison." Smith's Diet, of Greek and Roman Biog. 


as it were, upon his lips; and even after the heart is con- 
vinced, the ear still wishes to listen to the harmonious 
reasoner. His family consists of three children (two of 
which are sons), whom he educates with the utmost care. 
His father-in-law, Pompeius Julianus, as he greatly dis- 
tinguished himself in every other part of his life, so par- 
ticularly in this, that though he was himself of the highest 
rank in his province, yet, among many considerable matches, 
he preferred Euphrates for his son-in-law, as first in merit, 
though not in dignity. But why do I dwell any longer 
upon the virtues of a man whose conversation I am so 
unfortunate as not to have time sufficiently to enjoy? Is 
it to increase my regret and vexation that I cannot enjoy 
it? My time is wholly taken up in the execution of a very 
honourable, indeed, but equally troublesome, employment; in 
hearing cases, signing petitions, making up accounts, and writ- 
ing a vast amount of the most illiterate literature. I some- 
times complain to Euphrates (for I have leisure at least to 
complain) of these unpleasing occupations. He endeavours 
to console me, by affirming that, to be engaged in the public 
service, to hear and determine cases, to explain the laws, and 
administer justice, is a part, and the noblest part, too, of 
philosophy ; as it is reducing to practice what her professors 
teach in speculation. But even his rhetoric will never be 
able to convince me that it is better to be at this sort of 
work than to spend whole days in attending his lectures and 
learning his precepts. I cannot therefore but strongly 
recommend it to you, who have the time for it, when next 
you come to town (and you will come, I daresay, so much 
the sooner for this), to take the benefit of his elegant and 
refined instructions. For I do not (as many do) envy others 
the happiness I cannot share with them myself: on the 
contrary, it is a very sensible pleasure to me when I find 
my friends in possession of an enjoyment from which I 
have the misfortune to be excluded. Farewell. 


To Fabius Justus 
It is a long time since I have had a letter from you. 
" There is nothing to write about," you say : well then write 

206 PLINY 

and let me know just this, that "there is nothing to write 
about," or tell me in the good old style, // you are well, 
that's right, I am quite well. This will do for me, for it 
implies everything. You think I am joking? Let me assure 
you I am in sober earnest. Do let me know how you are; 
for I cannot remain ignorant any longer without growing 
exceedingly anxious about you. Farewell. 


To Calestrius Tiro 

I HAVE suffered the heaviest loss; if that word be suffi- 
ciently strong to express the misfortune which has deprived 
me of so excellent a man. Corellius Rufus is dead; and 
dead, too, by his own act ! A circumstance of great aggra- 
vation to my affliction; as that sort of death which wc 
cannot impute either to the course of nature, or the hand of 
Providence, is, of all others, the most to be lamented. It 
affords some consolation in the loss of those friends whom 
disease snatches from us that they fall by the general destiny 
of mankind; but those who destroy themselves leave us 
under the inconsolable reflection, that they had it in their 
power to have lived longer. It is true, Corellius had many 
inducements to be fond of life; a blameless conscience, high 
reputation, and great dignity of character, besides a daugh- 
ter, a wife, a grandson, and sisters ; and, amidst these 
numerous pledges of happiness, faithful friends. Still, it 
must be owned he had the highest motive (which to a wise 
man will always have the force of destiny), urging him to 
this resolution. He had long been tortured by so tedious 
and painful a complaint that even these inducements to 
living on, considerable as they are, were over-balanced by 
the reasons on the other side. In his thirty-third year (as 
I have frequently heard him say) he was seized with the 
gout in his feet. This was hereditary; for diseases, as well 
as possessions, are sometimes handed down by a sort of in- 
heritance. A life of sobriety and continence had enabled 
him to conquer and keep down the disease while he was 
still young, latterly as it grew upon him with advancing 


years, he had to manfully bear it, suffering meanwhile the 
most incredible and undeserved agonies; for the gout was 
now not only in his feet, but had spread itself over his 
whole body. I remember, in Domitian's reign, paying him 
a visit at his villa, near Rome. As soon as I entered his 
chamber, his servants went out: for it was his rule, never 
to allow them to be in the room when any intimate friend 
was with him; nay, even his own wife, though she could 
have kept any secret, used to go too. Casting his eyes round 
the room, " Why," he exclaimed, " do you suppose I endure 
life so long under these cruel agonies? It is with the hope 
that I may outlive, at least for one day, that villain." Had 
his bodily strength been equal to his resolution, he would 
have carried his desire into practical effect. God heard 
and answered his prayer; and when he felt that he should 
now die a free, un-enslaved, Roman, he broke through those 
other great, but now less forcible, attachments to the world. 
His malady increased; and, as it now grew too violent to 
admit of any relief from temperance, he resolutely deter- 
mined to put an end to its uninterrupted attacks, by an effort 
of heroism. He had refused all sustenance during four days 
when his wife Hispulla sent our common friend Geminius 
to me, with the melancholy news, that Corellius was re- 
solved to die; and that neither her own entreaties nor her 
daughter's could move him from his purpose; I was the only 
person left who could reconcile him to life. I ran to his 
house with the utmost precipitation. As I approached it, 
I met a second messenger from Hispulla, Julius Atticus, who 
informed me there was nothing to be hoped for now, even 
from me, as he seemed more hardened than ever in his 
purpose. He had said, indeed to his physician, who pressed 
him to take some nourishment, " 'Tis resolved " : an ex- 
pression which, as it raised my admiration of the greatness 
of his soul, so it does my grief for the loss of him. I keep 
thinking what a friend, what a man, I am deprived of. 
That he had reached his sixty-seventh year, an age which 
even the strongest seldom exceed, I well know; that he is 
released from a life of continual pain; that he has left his 
dearest friends behind him, and (what was dearer to him 
than all these) the state in a prosperous condition: all this 

208 PLINY 

I know. Still I cannot forbear to lament him, as if he had 
been in the prime and vigour of his days; and I lament him 
(shall I own ray weakness?) on my account. And — to 
confess to you as I did to Calvisius, in the first transport 
of my grief — I sadly fear, now that I am no longer under 
his eye, I shall not keep so strict a guard over my con- 
duct. Speak comfort to me then, not that he was old, he 
was in-firm; all this I know: but by supplying me with some 
reflections that are new and resistless, which I have never 
heard, never read, anywhere else. For all that I have heard, 
and all that I have read, occur to me of themselves; but 
all these are by far too weak to support me under so 
severe an affliction. Farewell. 

IX % 

To Socius Senecio 

This year has produced a plentiful crop of poets: during 
the whole month of April scarcely a day has passed on 
which we have not been entertained with the recital of some 
poem. It is a pleasure to me to find that a taste for polite 
literature still exists, and that men of genius do come for- 
ward and make themseves known, notwithstanding the lazy 
attendance they got for their pains. The greater part of 
the audience sit in the lounging-places, gossip away their 
time there, and are perpetually sending to enquire whether 
the author has made his entrance yet, whether he has got 
through the preface, or whether he has almost finished the 
piece. Then at length they saunter in with an air of the 
greatest indifference, nor do they condescend to stay through 
the recital, but go out before it is over, some slyly and 
stealthily, others again with perfect freedom and unconcern. 
And yet our fathers can remember how Claudius Caesar 
.walking one day in the palace, and hearing a great shout- 
ing, enquired the cause: and being informed that Nonianus^ 
was reciting a composition of his, went immediately to the 
place, and agreeably surprised the author with his presence. 

^ A pleader and historian of some distinction, mentioned by TacituSt 
Ann. XIV. 19, and by Quintilian, x. i, 102. 


But now, were one to bespeak the attendance of the idlest 
man living, and remind him of the appointment ever so 
often, or ever so long beforehand ; either he would not come 
at all, or if he did would grumble about having "lost a 
day ! " for no other reason but because he had not lost it. 
So much the more do those authors deserve our encourage- 
ment and applause who have resolution to persevere in their 
studies, and to read out their compositions in spite of this 
apathy or arrogance on the part of their audience. Myself 
indeed, I scarcely ever miss being present upon any occa- 
sion; though, to tell the truth, the authors have generally 
been friends of mine, as indeed there are few men of lit- 
erary tastes who are not. It is this which has kept me 
in town longer than I had intended. I am now, however, 
at liberty to go back into the country, and write something 
myself; which I do not intend reciting, lest I should seem 
rather to have lent than given my attendance to these reci- 
tations of my friends, for in these, as in all other good 
offices, the obligation ceases the moment you seem to expect 
a return. Farewell. 

To Junius Mauricus 

You desire me to look out a proper husband for your 
niece: it is with justice you enjoin me that office. You 
know the high esteem and affection I bore that great man 
her father, and with what noble instructions he nurtured 
my youth, and taught me to deserve those praises he was 
pleased to bestow upon me. You could not give me, then, 
a more important, or more agreeable, commission; nor 
could I be employed in an office of higher honour, than 
that of choosing a young man worthy of being father of 
the grandchildren of Rusticus Arulenus; a choice I should 
be long in determining, were I not acquainted with Minu- 
tius AemiUanus, who seems formed for our purpose. He 
loves me with all that warmth of affection which is usual 
between young men of equal years (as indeed I have the 
advance of him but by a very few), and reveres me at the 

210 PLINY 

same time, with all the deference due to age; and, in a 
word, he is no less desirous to model himself by my in- 
structions than I was by those of yourself and your 

He is a native of Brixia, one of those provinces in 
Italy which still retain much of the old modesty, frugal 
simplicity, and even rusticity, of manner. He is the son 
of Minutius Macrinus, whose humble desires were satisfied 
with standing at the head of the equestrian order: for 
though he was nominated by Vespasian in the number of 
those whom that prince dignified with the praetorian office, 
yet, with an inflexible greatness of mind, he resolutely 
preferred an honourable repose, to the ambitious, shall I 
call them, or exalted, pursuits, in which we public men 
are engaged. His grandmother, on the mother's side, is 
Serrana Procula, of Patavium:^ you are no stranger to 
the character of its citizens; yet Serrana is looked upon, 
even among these correct people, as an exemplary in- 
stance of strict virtue. Acilius, his uncle, is a man of 
almost exceptional gravity, wisdom, and integrity. In 
short, you will find nothing throughout his family un- 
worthy of yours. Minutius himself has plenty of vivacity, 
as well as application, together with a most amiable and 
becoming modesty. He has already, with considerable 
credit, passed through the offices of quaestor, tribune, and 
praetor; so that you will be spared the trouble of solicit- 
ing for him those honourable employments. He has a 
fine, well-bred, countenance, with a ruddy, healthy com- 
plexion, while his whole person is elegant and comely and 
his mien graceful and senatorian: advantages, I think, by 
no means to be slighted, and which I consider as the 
proper tribute to virgin innocence. I think I may add 
that his father is very rich. When I contemplate the 
character of those who require a husband of my choosing, 
I know it is unnecessary to mention wealth; but when I 
reflect upon the prevailing manners of the age, and even 
the laws of Rome, which rank a man according to his 
possessions, it certainly claims some regard; and, indeed, 
in estabUshments of this nature, where children and many 

1 Padua. 


other circumstances are to be duly weighed, it is an article 
that well deserves to be taken into the account. You will 
be inclined, perhaps, to suspect that affection has had too 
great a share in the character I have been drawing, and 
that I have heightened it beyond the truth : but I will 
stake all my credit, you will find everything far beyond 
what I have represented. I love the young fellow indeed 
(as he justly deserves) with all the warmth of a most ardent 
affection; but for that very reason I would not ascribe 
more to his merit than I know it will bear. Farewell. 

XI \0 

To Septitius Clakus 

Ah ! you are a pretty fellow ! You make an engagement 
to come to supper and then never appear. Justice shall 
be exacted; — you shall reimburse me to the very last 
penny the expense I went to on your account; no small 
sum, let me tell you. I had prepared, you must know, a 
lettuce a-piece, three snails, two eggs, and a barley cake, 
with some sweet wine and snow, (the snow most certainly 
I shall charge to your account, as a rarity that will not 
keep.) Olives, beet-root, gourds, onions, and a thousand 
other dainties equally sumptuous. You should likewise 
have been entertained either with an interlude, the re- 
hearsal of a poem, or a piece of music, whichever you pre- 
ferred; or (such was my liberality) with all three. But 
the oysters, sows'-bellies, sea-urchins, and dancers from 

Cadiz of a certain I know not who, were, it seems, 

more to your taste. You shall give satisfaction, how, shall 
at present be a secret. 

Oh! you have behaved cruelly, grudging your friend, 
— had almost said yourself; — and upon second thoughts I 
do say so; — in this way: for how agreeably should we 
have spent the evening, in laughing, trifling, and literary 
amusements ! You may sup, I confess, at many places 
more splendidly; but nowhere with more unconstrained 
mirth, simplicity, and freedom: only make the experiment, 
and if you do not ever after excuse yourself to your 

212 PLINY 

other friends, to come to me, always put me off to go to 
them. Farewell. 


To Suetonius Tranquillus 

You tell me in your letter that you are extremely 
alarmed by a dream; apprehending that it forebodes some 
ill success to you in the case you have undertaken to 
defend; and, therefore, desire that I would get it adjourned 
for a few days, or, at least, to the next. This will be no 
easy matter, but I will try : 

. . . . "For dreams descend from Jove." 

Meanwhile, it is very material for you to recollect whether 
your dreams generally represent things as they after- 
wards fall out, or quite the reverse. But if I may judge 
of yours by one that happened to myself, this dream 
that alarms you seems to portend that you will acquit 
yourself with great success. I had promised to stand coun- 
sel for Junius Pastor; when I fancied in my sleep that my 
mother-in-law came to me, and, throwing herself at my feet, 
earnestly entreated me not to plead. I was at that time a 
very young man; the case was to be argued in the four 
centumviral courts; my adversaries were some of the most 
important personages in Rome, and particular favourites 
of Caesar;^ any of which circumstances were sufficient, after 
such an inauspicious dream, to have discouraged me. Not- 
withstanding this, I engaged in the cause, reflecting that, 

"Without a sign, his sword the brave man draws, 
And asks no omen but his country's cause."^ 

for I looked upon the promise I had given to be as sacred 
to me as my country, or, if that were possible, more so. 
The event happened as I wished; and it was that very case 
which first procured me the favourable attention of the 
public, and threw open to me the gates of Fame. Consider 
then whether your dream, like this one I have related, may 
not pre-signify success. But, after all, perhaps you will think 

* Domitian. ' Iliad, xii. 243. Pope. 


it safer to pursue this cautious maxim: "Never do a thing 
concerning the rectitude of which you are in doubt;" if so, 
write me word. In the interval, I will consider of some ex- 
cuse, and will so plead your cause that you may be able to 
plead it your self any day you like best. In this respect, you 
are in a better situation than I was: the court of the cen- 
tumviri, where I was to plead, admits of no adjournment: 
whereas, in that where your case is to be heard, though 
no easy matter to procure one, still, however, it is possible. 



As you are my towns-man, my school-fellow, and the 
earliest companion of my youth ; as there was the strictest 
friendship between my mother and uncle and your father 
(a happiness which I also enjoyed as far as the great in- 
equality of our ages would admit) ; can I fail (thus biassed as 
I am by so many and weighty considerations) to contribute all 
in my power to the advancement of your honours? The 
rank you bear in our province, as decurio, is a proof that 
you are possessed, at least, of an hundred thousand ses- 
terces;^ but that we may also have the satisfaction of seeing 
you a Roman Knight,^ I present you with three hundred 
thousand, in order to make up the sum requisite to entitle 
you to that dignity. The long acquaintance we have had 
leaves me no room to apprehend you will ever be forgetful of 
this instance of my friendship. And I know your disposition 
too well to think it necessary to advise you to enjoy this 
honour with the modesty that becomes a person who receives 
it from me; for the advanced rank we possess through a 

^ Equal to about $4,000 of our money. After the reign of Augustus the 
value of the sestertius. 

" " The equestrian dignity, or that order of the Roman people which we 
commonly call knights, had nothing in it analogous to any order of modern 
knighthood, but depended entirely upon a valuation of their estates; and 
every citizen, whose entire fortune amounted to 400,000 sesterces, that is, 
to about $16,000 of our money, was enrolled, of course, in the list of 
knights, who were considered as a middle order between the senators and 
corarnon people, yet, without any other distinction than the privilege of 
wearing a gold ring, which was the peculiar badge of their order." Life 
of Cicero, vol. i. iii. in note. M. 

214 PLINY 

friend's kindness is a sort of sacred trust, in which we have 
his judgment, as well as our own character, to maintain, 
and therefore to be guarded with the greater caution. Fare- 


To Cornelius Tacitus 

I HAVE frequent debates with a certain acquaintance of 
mine, a man of skill and learning, who admires nothing 
so much in the eloquence of the bar as conciseness. I agree 
with him, that where the case will admit of this precision, 
it may with propriety be adopted; but insist that, to leave 
out what is material to be mentioned, or only briefly and 
cursorily to touch upon those points which should be incul- 
cated, impressed, and urged well home upon the minds of 
the audience, is a downright fraud upon one's client. In 
many cases, to deal with the subject at greater length adds 
strength and weight to our ideas, which frequently produce 
their impression upon the mind, as iron does upon solid 
bodies, rather by repeated strokes than a single blow. In 
answer to this, he usually has recourse to authorities, and 
produces Lysias^ amongst the Grecians, together with Cato 
and the two Gracchi, among our own countrymen, many of 
whose speeches certainly are brief and curtailed. In return, 
I name Demosthenes, Aeschines, Hyperides,' and many 
others, in opposition to Lysias; while I confront Cato and 
the Gracchi with Caesar, Pollio,* Caelius,* but, above all, 
Cicero, whose longest speech is generally considered his best. 
Why, no doubt about it, in good compositions, as in every- 
thing else that is valuable, the more there is of them, the 
better. You may observe in statues, basso-relievos, pic- 
tures, and the human form, and even in animals and trees, 
that nothing is more graceful than magnitude, if accom- 
panied with proportion: The same holds true in pleading; 

1 An elegant Attic orator, remarkable for the grace and lucidity of his 
style, also for his vivid and accurate delineations of character. 

* A graceful and powerful orator, and friend of Demosthenes. 

3 A Roman orator of the Augustan age. He was a poet and historian 
as well, but gained most distinction as an orator. 

* A man of considerable taste, talent, and eloquence, but profligate and 
extravagant. He was on terms of some intimacy with Cicero. 


and even in books a large volume carries a certain beauty 
and authority in its very size. My antagonist, who is ex- 
tremely dexterous at evading an argument, eludes all this, 
and much more, which I usually urge to the same purpose, 
by insisting that those very individuals, upon whose works 
I found my opinion, made considerable additions to their 
speeches when they published them. This I deny; and ap- 
peal to the harangues of numberless orators, particularly to 
those of Cicero, for Murena and Varenus, in which a short, 
bare notification of certain charges is expressed under mere 
heads. Whence it appears that many things which he en- 
larged upon at the time he delivered those speeches were 
retrenched when he gave them to the public. The same excel- 
lent orator informs us that, agreeably to the ancient cus- 
tom, which allowed only of one counsel on a side, Cluentius 
had no other advocate than himself; and he tells us further 
that he employed four whole days in defence of Cornelius; 
by which it plainly appears that those speeches which, when 
delivered at their full length, had necessarily taken up so 
much time at the bar were considerably cut down and 
pruned when he afterwards compressed them into a single 
volume, though, I must confess, indeed, a large one. But 
good pleading, it is objected, is one thing, just composition 
another. This objection, I am aware, has had some favour- 
ers; nevertheless, I am persuaded (though I may, perhaps, 
be mistaken) that, as it is possible you may have a good 
pleading which is not a good speech, so a good speech can- 
not be a bad pleading; for the speech on paper is the model 
and, as it were, the archetype of the speech that was de- 
livered. It is for this reason we find, in many of the best 
speeches extant, numberless extemporaneous turns of ex- 
pression; and even in those which we are sure were never 
spoken; as, for instance, in the following passage from the 
speech against Verres: — "A certain mechanic — what's his 
name? Oh, thank you for helping me to it: yes, I mean 
Polyclitus." It follows, then, that the nearer approach a 
speaker makes to the rules of just composition, the more 
perfect will he be in his art; always supposing, however, 
that he has his due share of time allowed him; for, if he be 
limited of that article, no blame can justly be fixed upon the 

216 PLINY 

advocate, though much certainly upon the judge. The sense 
of the laws, I am sure, is on my side, which are by no means 
sparing of the orator's time; it is not conciseness, but ful- 
ness, a complete representation of every material circum- 
stance, which they recommend. Now conciseness cannot 
effect this, unless in the most insignificant cases. Let me 
add what experience, that unerring guide, has taught me: 
it has frequently been my province to act both as an advo- 
cate and a judge; and I have often also attended as an 
assessor.^ Upon those occasions, I have ever found the 
judgments of mankind are to be influenced by different 
modes of application, and that the slightest circumstances 
frequently produce the most important consequences. The 
dispositions and understandings of men vary to such an 
extent that they seldom agree in their opinions concerning 
any one point in debate before them; or, if they do, it is 
generally from different motives. Besides, as every man 
is naturally partial to his own discoveries, when he hears 
an argument urged which had previously occurred to him- 
self, he will be sure to embrace it as extremely convincing. 
The orator, therefore, should so adapt himself to his audi- 
ence as to throw out something which every one of them, 
in turn, may receive and approve as agreeable to his own 
particular views. I recollect, once when Regulus and 
I were engaged on the same side, his remarking to me, 
"You seem to think it necessary to go into every single cir- 
cumstance : whereas I always take aim at once at my ad- 
versary's throat, and there I press him closely." ('Tis true, 
he keeps a tight hold of whatever part he has once fixed 
upon; but the misfortune is, he is extremely apt to fix 
upon the wrong place.) I replied, it might possibly happen 
that what he called the throat was, in reaUty, the knee or 
the ankle. As for myself, said I, who do not pretend to 
direct my aim with so much precision, I test every part, I 
probe every opening; in short, to use a vulgar proverb, / 
leave no stone unturned. And as in agriculture, it is not 
my vineyards or my woods only, but my fields as well, that I 
look after and cultivate, and (to carry on the metaphor) as 

^The praetor was assisted by ten assessors, five of whom were senators, 
and the rest knights. With these he was obliged to consult before he 
pronounced sentence. M. 


I do not content myself with sowing those fields simply 
with corn or white wheat, but sprinkle in barley, pulse, and 
the other kinds of grain; so, in my pleadings at the bar, I 
scatter broadcast various arguments like so many kinds of 
seed, in order to reap whatever may happen to come up. 
For the disposition of your judges is as hard to fathom as 
uncertain, and as little to be relied on as that of soils and 
seasons. The comic writer Eupolis,® I remember, mentions 
it in praise of that excellent orator Pericles, that 

"On his lips Persuasion hung, 
And powerful Reason rul'd his tongue : 
Thus he alone could boast the art 
To charm at once, and pierce the heart." 

But could Pericles, without the richest variety of expres- 
sion, and merely by the force of the concise or the rapid 
style, or both (for they are very dififerent), have thus 
charmed and pierced the heart. To delight and to persuade 
requires time and great command of language; and to 
leave a sting in the minds of the audience is an effect not 
to be expected from an orator who merely pinks, but from 
him, and him only, who thrusts in. Another comic poet,^ 
speaking of the same orator, says : 

"His mighty words like Jove's own thunder roll; 
Greece hears, and trembles to her inmost soul." 

But it is not the close and reserved; it is the copious, the 
majestic, and the sublime orator, who thunders, who light- 
ens, who, in short, bears all before him in a confused whirl. 
There is, undeniably, a just mean in everything; but he 
equally misses the mark who falls short of it, as he who 
goes beyond it; he who is too limited as he who is too 
unrestrained. Hence it is as common a thing to hear our 
orators condemned for being too jejune and feeble as too 
excessive and redundant. One is said to have exceeded the 
bounds of his subject, the other not to have reached them. 
Both, no doubt, are equally in fault, with this difference, 
however, that in the one the fault arises from an abundance, 
in the other, from a deficiency ; an error, in the former case, 
which, if it be not the sign of a more correct, is certainly of 

*A contemporary and rival of Aristophanes. 
'Aristophanes, Ach. 531. 

218 PLINY 

a more fertile genius. When I say this, I would not be un- 
derstood to approve that everlasting talker^ mentioned in 
Homer, but that other" described in the following lines : 

"Frequent and soft, as falls the winter snow, 
Thus from his lips the copious periods flow." 

Not but that I extremely admire him," too, of whom the 
poet says, 

"Few were his words, but wonderfully strong." 

Yet, if the choice were given me, I should give the pref- 
erence to that style resembling winter snow, that is, to the 
full, uninterrupted, and diffusive; in short, to that pomp of 
eloquence which seems all heavenly and divine. But (it is 
replied) the harangue of a more moderate length is most 
generally admired. It is : — but only by indolent people ; 
and to fix the standard by their laziness and false delicacy 
would be simply ridiculous. Were you to consult persons 
of this cast, they would tell you, not only that it is best to 
say little, but that it is best to say nothing at all. Thus, 
my friend, I have laid before you my opinions upon this 
subject, and I am willing to change them if not agreeable 
to yours. But should you disagree with me, pray let me 
know clearly your reasons why. For, though I ought to 
yield in this case to your more enlightened judgment, yet, 
in a point of such consequence, I had rather be convinced by 
argument than by authority. So if I don't seem to you very 
wide of the mark, a line or two from you in return, inti- 
mating your concurrence, will be sufficient to confirm me in 
my opinion: on the other hand, if you should think me mis- 
taken, let me have your objections at full length. Does it 
not look rather like bribery, my requiring only a short letter, 
if you agree with me; but a very long one if you should be 
of a different opinion. Farewell. 

^Thersites. Iliad, ii. v. 212. » Ulysses. Iliad, iii. v. 222. 

^ Menelaus. Iliad, iii. v. 214. 



To Paternus 

As I rely very much upon the soundness of your judg- 
ment, so I do upon the goodness of your eyes : not because 
I think your discernment very great (for I don't want to 
make you conceited), but because I think it as good as 
mine : which, it must be confessed, is saying a great deal. 
Joking apart, I like the look of the slaves which were 
purchased for me on your recommendation very well; all 
I further care about is, that they be honest: and for this I 
must depend upon their characters more than their coun- 
tenances. Farewell, 


To Catilius Severus* 

I AM at present (and have been a considerable time) 
detained in Rome, under the most stunning apprehensions. 
Titus Aristo,* whom I have a singular admiration and 
affection for, is fallen into a long and obstinate illness, 
which troubles me. Virtue, knowledge, and good sense, 
shine out with so superior a lustre in this excellent man 
that learning herself, and every valuable endowment, seem 
involved in the danger of his single person. How con- 
summate his knowledge, both in the political and civil 
laws of his country ! How thoroughly conversant is he in 
every branch of history or antiquity? In a word, there is 
nothing you might wish to know which he could not teach 
you. As for me, whenever I would acquaint myself with 
any abstruse point, I go to him as my store-house. What 
an engaging sincerity, what dignity in his conversation ! 
how chastened and becoming is his caution ! Though he 
conceives, at once, every point in debate, yet he is as slow 
to decide as he is quick to apprehend; calmly and delib- 
erately sifting and weighing every opposite reason that is 
pffered, and tracing it, with a most judicious penetration, 

^ Great-grandfather of the Emperor M. Aurelius. 
* An eminent lawyer of Trajan's reign. 

220 PLINY 

from its source through all its remotest consequences. His 
diet is frugal, his dress plain; and whenever I enter his 
chamber, and view him reclined upon his couch, I consider 
the scene before me as a true image of ancient simplicity, 
to which his illustrious mind reflects the noblest ornament. 
He places no part of his happiness in ostentation, but in 
the secret approbation of his conscience, seeking the reward 
of his virtue, not in the clamorous applauses of the world, 
but in the silent satisfaction which results from having 
acted well. In short, you will not easily find his equal, 
even among our philosophers by outward profession. No, 
he does not frequent the gymnasia or porticoes^ nor does 
he amuse his own and others' leisure with endless contro- 
versies, but busies himself in the scenes of civil and active 
life. Many has he assisted with his interest, still more 
with his advice, and withal in the practice of temperance, 
piety, justice, and fortitude, he has no superior. You would 
be astonished, were you there to see, at the patience with 
which he bears his illness, how he holds out against pain, 
endures thirst, and quietly submits to this raging fever and 
to the pressure of those clothes which are laid upon him to 
promote perspiration. He lately called me and a few more 
of his particular friends to his bedside, requesting us to 
ask his physicians what turn they apprehended his dis- 
temper would take; that, if they pronounced it incurable, 
he might voluntarily put an end to his life; but if there 
were hopes of a recovery, how tedious and difficult soever 
it might prove, he would calmly wait the event; for so 
much, he thought, was due to the tears and entreaties of his 
wife and daughter, and to the affectionate intercession of 
his friends, as not voluntarily to abandon our hopes, if they 
were not entirely desperate. A true hero's resolution this, 
in my estimation, and worthy the highest applause. In- 
stances are frequent in the world, of rushing into the arms 
of death without reflection and by a sort of blind impulse; 
but deliberately to weigh the reasons for life or death, and 
to be determined in our choice as either side of the scale 
prevails, shows a great mind. We have had the satisfac- 

* The philosophers used to hold their disputations in the gymnasia and 
porticoes, being places of the most public resort for walking, &c. M. 




tion to receive the opinion of his physicians in his favour: 
may heaven favour their promises and reUeve me at length 
from this painful anxiety. Once easy in my mind, I shall 
go back to my favourite Laurentum, or, in other words, to 
my books, my papers and studious leisure. Just now, so 
much of my time and thoughts are taken up in attendance 
upon my friend, and anxiety for him, that I have neither 
leisure nor inclination for any reading or writing whatever. 
Thus you have my fears, my wishes, and my after-plans. 
Write me in return, but in a gayer strain, an account not 
only of what you are and have been doing, but of what 
you intend doing too. It will be a very sensible consola- 
tion to me in this disturbance of mind, to be assured that 
ourc is easy. Farewell. 



Rome has not for many years beheld a more magnificent 
and memorable spectacle than was lately exhibited in the 
public funeral of that great, illustrious, and no less fortu- 
nate man, Verginius Rufus. He lived thirty years after he 
had reached the zenith of his fame. He read poems com- 
posed in his honour, he read histories of his achievements, 
and was himself witness of his fame among posterity. He 
was thrice raised to the dignity of consul, that he might 
at least be the highest of subjects, who^ had refused to be 
the first of princes. As he escaped the resentment of those 
emperors to whom his virtues had given umbrage and even 
rendered him odious, and ended his days when this best of 
princes, this friend of mankind^ was in quiet possession of 
the empire, it seems as if Providence had purposely preserved 
him to these times, that he might receive the honour of a 
public funeral. He reached his eighty-fourth year, in full 

* " Verginius Rufus was governor of Upper Germany at the time of the 
revolt of Julius Vindex in Gaul, a. d. 68. The soldiers of Verginius wished 
to raise him to the empire, but he refused the honour, and marched against 
Vindex, who perished before Vesontio. After the death of Nero, Verginius 
supported the claims of Galba, and accompanied him to Rome. Upon Otho's 
death, the soldiers again attempted to proclaim Verginius emperor, and in 
consequence of his refusal of the honour, he narrowly escaped with his 
life." (See Smith's Diet, of Greek and Rom. Biog., &c.) 

« Nerva. 

222 PLINY 

tranquillity and universally revered, having enjoyed strong 
health during his lifetime, with the exception of a trembling 
in his hands, which, however, gave him no pain. His last 
illness, indeed, was severe and tedious, but even that cir- 
cumstance added to his reputation. As he was practising 
his voice with a view of returning his public acknowledge- 
ments to the emperor, who had promoted him to the consul- 
ship, a large volume he had taken into his hand, and which 
happened to be too heavy for so old a man to hold standing 
up, slid from his grasp. In hastily endeavouring to recover 
it, his foot slipped on the smooth pavement, and he fell down 
and broke his thigh-bone, which being clumsily set, his age 
as well being against him, did not properly unite again. The 
funeral obsequies paid to the memory of this great man have 
done honour to the emperor, to the age, and to the bar. The 
consul Cornelius Tacitus^ pronounced his funeral oration and 
thus his good fortune was crowned by the public applause 
of so eloquent an orator. He has departed from our midst, 
full of years, indeed, and of glory; as illustrious by the 
honours he refused as by those he accepted. Yet still we 
shall miss him and lament him, as the shining model of a 
past age; I, especially, shall feel his loss, for I not only 
admired him as a patriot, but loved him as a friend. We 
were of the same province, and of neighbouring towns, and 
our estates were also contiguous. Besides these accidental 
connections, he was left my guardian, and always treated me 
with a parent's affection. Whenever I offered myself as a 
candidate for any office in the state, he constantly supported 
me with his interest; and although he had long since given 
up all such services to friends, he would kindly leave his re- 
tirement and come to give me his vote in person. On the 
day on which the priests nominate those they consider most 
worthy of the sacred office* he constantly proposed me. Even 
in his last illness, apprehending the possibility of the senate's 
appointing him one of the five commissioners for reducing the 

' The historian. . . r 

* Namely, of augurs. " This college, as regulated by Sylla, consisted of 
fifteen, who were all persons of the first distinction in Rome; it was a 
priesthood for life, of a character indelible, which no crime or forfeiture 
could efface: it was necessary that every candidate should be nominated 
to the people by two augurs, who gave a solemn testimony upon oath 
of his dignity and fitness for that office." Middleton's Life of Cicero, 
p. 147. M. 


public expenses, he fixed upon me, young as I am, to bear 
his excuses, in preference to so many other friends, elderly 
men too, and of consular rank and said to me, " Had I a son 
of my own, I would entrust you with this matter." And so 
I cannot but lament his death, as though it were premature, 
and pour out my grief into your bosom ; if indeed one has any 
right to grieve, or to call it death at all, which to such a man 
terminates his mortality, rather than ends his life. He lives, 
and will live on for ever; and his fame will extend and be 
more celebrated by posterity, now that he is gone from our 
sight. I had much else to write to you but my mind is full of 
this. I keep thinking of Verginius: I see him before me: I 
am for ever fondly yet vividly imagining that I hear him, am 
speaking to him, embrace him. There are men amongst us, 
his fellow-citizens, perhaps, who may rival him in virtue; 
but not one that will ever approach him in glory. Farewell. 


To Nepos 

The great fame of Isaeus had already preceded him here; 
but we find him even more wonderful than we had heard. 
He possesses the utmost readiness, copiousness, and abun- 
dance of language: he always speaks extempore, and his lec- 
tures are as finished as though he had spent a long time over 
their written composition. His style is Greek, or rather the 
genuine Attic. His exordiums are terse, elegant, attractive, 
and occasionally impressive and majestic. He suggests sev- 
eral subjects for discussion, allows his audience their choice, 
sometimes to even name which side he shall take, rises, ar- 
ranges himself, and begins. At once he has everything al- 
most equally at command. Recondite meanings of things are 
suggested to you, and words — what words they are ! ex- 
quisitely chosen and polished. These extempore speeches 
of his show the wideness of his reading, and how much prac- 
tice he has had in composition. His preface is to the point, 
his narrative lucid, his summing up forcible, his rhetorical 
ornament imposing. In a word, he teaches, entertains, and 
affects you; and you are at a loss to decide which of the 

224 PLINY 

three he does best. His reflections are frequent, his syl- 
logisms also are frequent, condensed, and carefully finished, 
a result not easily attainable even with the pen. As for 
his memory, you would hardly believe what it is capable of. 
He repeats from, a long way back what he has previously 
delivered extempore, without missing a single word. This 
marvellous faculty he has acquired by dint of great ap- 
plication and practice, for night and day he does nothing, 
hears nothing, says nothing else. He has passed his sixtieth 
year and is still only a rhetorician, and I know no class of 
men more single-hearted, more genuine, more excellent than 
this class. We who have to go through the rough work of 
the bar and of real disputes unavoidably contract a certain 
imprincipled adroitness. The school, the lecture-room, the 
imaginary case, all this, on the other hand, is perfectly in- 
nocent and harmless, and equally enjoyable, especially to old 
people, for what can be happier at that time of life than 
to enjoy what we found pleasantest in our young days? I 
consider Isaeus then, not only the most eloquent, but the 
happiest, of men, and if you are not longing to make his 
acquaintance, you must be made of stone and iron. So, 
if not upon my account, or for any other reason, come, for 
the sake of hearing this man, at least. Have you never read 
of a certain inhabitant of Cadiz who was so impressed with 
the name and fame of Livy that he came from the remotest 
corner of the earth on purpose to see him, and, his curiosity 
gratified, went straight home again. It is utter want of taste, 
shows simple ignorance, is almost an actual disgrace to a 
man, not to set any high value upon a proficiency in so 
pleasing, noble, refining a science. " I have authors," you will 
reply, "here in my own study, just as eloquent," True: but 
then those authors you can read at any time, while you 
cannot always get the opportunity of hearing eloquence. 
Besides, as the proverb says, " The living voice is that 
which sways the soul ; " yes, far more. For notwithstanding 
what one reads is more clearly understood than what one 
hears, yet the utterance, countenance, garb, aye and the very 
gestures of the speaker, alike concur in fixing an impression 
upon the mind; that is, unless we disbelieve the truth of 
Aeschines' statement, who, after he had read to the Rhodians 


that celebrated speech of Demosthenes, upon their expressing 
their admiration of it, is said to have added, "Ah ! what would 
you have said, could you have heard the wild beast himself?" 
And Aeschines, if we may take Demosthenes' word for it, 
was no mean elocutionist; yet, he could not but confess that 
the speech would have sounded far finer from the lips of its 
author. I am saying all this with a view to persuading you 
to hear Isaeus, if even for the mere sake of being able to say 
you have heard him. Farewell. 


To AviTus 

It would be a long story, and of no great importance, to 
tell you by what accident I found myself dining the other 
day with an individual with whom I am by no means intimate, 
and who, in his own opinion, does things in good style and 
economically as well, but according to mine, with meanness 
and extravagance combined. Some very elegant dishes were 
served up to himself and a few more of us, whilst those 
placed before the rest of the company consisted simply of 
cheap dishes and scraps. There were, in small bottles, three 
different kinds of wine; not that the guest might take their 
choice, but that they might not have any option in their 
power; one kind being for himself, and for us; another 
sort for his lesser friends (for it seems he has degrees of 
friends), and the third for his own freedmen and ours. 
My neighbour,^ reclining next me, observing this, asked me 
if I approved the arrangement. Not at all, I told him. 
" Pray then," he asked, "what is your method upon such oc- 
casions ?" " Mine," I returned, " is to give all my visitors the 
same reception ; for when I give an invitation, it is to enter- 
tain, not distinguish, my company: I place every man upon 
my own level whom I admit to my table." " Not excepting 
even your freedmen ? " " Not excepting even my freedmen, 

^ The ancient Greeks and Romans did not sit up at the table as we do, 
hut reclined round it on couches, three and sometimes even four occupying 
one couch, at least this latter was the custom among the Romans. Each 
guest lay flat upon his chest while eating, reaching out his hand from time 
to time to the table, for what he might require. As soon as he had made 
a sufficient meal, he turned over upon his left side, leaning on the elbow. 

8 — HC IX 

226 PLINY 

whom I consider on these occasions my guests, as much as 
any of the rest." He replied, " This must cost you a great 
deal." " Not in the least." " How can that be ?" " Simply 
because, although my freedmen don't drink the same wine 
as myself, yet I drink the same as they do." And, no doubt 
about it, if a man is wise enough to moderate his appetite, 
he will not find it such a very expensive thing to share with 
all his visitors what he takes himself. Restrain it, keep it in, 
if you wish to be true economist. You will find temperance 
a far better way of saving than treating other people rudely 
can be. Why do I say all this ? Why, for fear a young man 
of your high character and promise should be imposed upon 
by this immoderate luxury which prevails at some tables, 
tmder the specious notion of frugality. Whenever any folly 
of this sort falls under my eye, I shall, just because I care 
for you, point it out to you as an example you ought to shun. 
Remember, then, nothing is more to be avoided than this 
modern alliance of luxury with meanness; odious enough 
when existing separate and distinct, but still more hateful 
where you meet with them together. Farewell. 


To Macrinus 

The senate decreed yesterday, on the emperor's motion, a 
triumphal statue to Vestricius Spurinna: not as they would 
to many others, who never were in action, or saw a camp, 
or heard the sound of a trumpet, unless at a show ; but as it 
would be decreed to those who have justly bought such a 
distinction with their blood, their exertions, and their deeds. 
Spurinna forcibly restored the king of the Bructeri^ to his 
throne ; and this by the noblest kind of victory ; for he subdued 
that warlike people by the terror of the mere display of his 
preparation for the campaign. This is his reward as a hero, 
while, to console him for the loss of his son Cottius, who 
died during his absence upon that expedition, they also voted 
a statue to the youth; a very unusual honour for one so 
young; but the services of the father deserved that the pain 

^ A people of Germany. 


of so severe a wound should be soothed by no common balm. 
Indeed Cottius himself evinced such remarkable promise of 
the highest qualities that it is but fitting his short limited 
term of life should be extended, as it were, by this kind of 
immortality. He was so pure and blameless, so full of dignity, 
and commanded such respect, that he might have challenged 
in moral goodness much older men, with whom he now shares 
equal honours. Honours, if I am not mistaken, conferred 
not only to perpetuate the memory of the deceased youth, 
and in consolation to the surviving father, but for the sake 
of public example also. This will rouse and stimulate our 
young men to cultivate every worthy principle, when they see 
such rewards bestowed upon one oi their own years, provided 
he deserve them: at the same time that men of quality will 
be encouraged to beget children and to have the joy and 
satisfaction of leaving a worthy race behind, if their children 
survive them, or of so glorious a consolation, should they 
survive their children. Looking at it in this light then, I 
am glad, upon public grounds, that a statue is decreed Cottius : 
and for my own sake too, just as much; for I loved this 
most favoured, gifted, youth, as ardently as I now grievously 
miss him amongst us. So that it will be a great satisfaction 
to me to be able to look at this figure from time to time as I 
pass by, contemplate it, stand underneath, and walk to and 
fro before it. For if having the pictures of the departed 
placed in our homes lightens sorrow, how much more those 
public representations of them which are not only memorials 
of their air and countenance, but of their glory and honour 
besides ? Farewell. 


To Priscus 

As I know you eagerly embrace every opportunity of 
obliging me, so there is no man whom I had rather be under 
an obligation to. I apply to you, therefore, in preference to 
anyone else, for a favour which I am extremely desirous of 
obtaining. You, who are commander-in-chief of a very 
considerable army, have many opportunities of exercising 
your generosity; and the length of time you have enjoyed that 

228 PLINY 

post must have enabled you to provide for all your own 
friends. I hope you w^ill now turn your eyes upon some 
of mine: as indeed they are but a few Your generous dis- 
position, I know, would be better pleased if the number 
were greater, but one or two will suffice my modest desires; 
at present I will only mention Voconius Romanus. His 
father was of great distinction among the Roman knights, 
and his father-in-law, or, I might more properly call him, 
his second father, (for his affectionate treatment of Voconius 
entitles him to that appellation) was still more conspicuous. 
His mother was one of the most considerable ladies of Upper 
Spain : you know what character the people of that province 
bear, and how remarkable they are for their strictness of 
their manners. As for himself, he lately held the post of 
flamen.^ Now, from the time when we were first students to- 
gether, I have felt very tenderly attached to him. We lived 
under the same roof, in town and country, we joked to- 
gether, we shared each other's serious thoughts: for where 
indeed could I have found a truer friend or pleasanter com- 
panion than he? In his conversation, and even in his very 
voice and countenance, there is a rare sweetness; as at the 
bar he displays talents of a high order; acuteness, elegance, 
ease, and skill: and he writes such letters too that were you 
to read them you would imagine they had been dictated by 
the Muses themselves. I have a very great affection for him, 
as he has for me. Even in the earlier part of our lives, 
I warmly embraced every opportunity of doing him all the 
good services which then lay in my power, as I have lately 
obtained for him from our most gracious prince^ the privilege' 
granted to those who have three children: a favour which, 
though Caesar very rarely bestows, and always with great 
caution, yet he conferred, at my request, in such a matter 
as to give it the air and grace of being his own choice. 

1 " Any Roman priest devoted to the service of one particular god was 
designated Flamen, receiving a distinguishing epithet from the deity to 
whom he ministered. The office was understood to last for life; but a 
flamen might be compelled to resign for a breach of duty, or even on 
account of the occurrence of an ill-omened accident while discharging his 
functions." Smith's Dictionary of Antiquities. 

2 Trajan. 

' By a law passed a. u. 762, it was enacted that every citizen of Rome 
who had three children should be excused from all troublesome offices 
where he lived. This privilege the emperors sometimes extended to those 
who were not legally entitled to it. 


The best way of showing that I think he deserves the kind- 
nesses he has already received from me is by increasing them, 
especially as he always accepts my services so gratefully as 
to deserve more. Thus I have shown you what manner of 
man Romanus is, how thoroughly I have proved his worth, 
and how much I love him. Let me entreat you to honour 
him with your patronage in a way suitable to the generosity 
of your heart, and the eminence of your station. But above 
all let him have your affection ; for though you were to con- 
fer upon him the utmost you have in your power to bestow, 
you can give him nothing more valuable than your friendship. 
That you may see he is worthy of it, even to the closest degree 
of intimacy, I send you this brief sketch of his tastes, 
character, his whole life, in fact. I should continue my 
intercessions in his behalf, but that I know you prefer not 
being pressed, and I have already repeated them in every 
line of this letter: for, to show a good reason for what one 
asks is true intercession, and of the most effectual kind. 


To Maximus 

You guessed correctly: I am much engaged in pleading 
before the Hundred. The business there is more fatiguing 
than pleasant. Trifling, inconsiderable cases, mostly; it is 
very seldom that anything worth speaking of, either from 
the importance of the question or the rank of the persons 
concerned, comes before them. There are very few lawyers 
either whom I take any pleasure in working with. The 
rest, a parcel of impudent young fellows, many of whom one 
knows nothing whatever about, come here to get some prac- 
tice in speaking, and conduct themselves so forwardly and 
with such utter want of deference that my friend Attilius 
exactly hit it, I think, when he made the observation that 
" boys set out at the bar with cases in the Court of the Hun- 
dred as they do at school with Homer," intimating that at both 
places they begin where they should end. But in former 
times (so my elders tell me) no youth, even of the best 
families, was allowed in unless introduced by some person 

230 PLINY 

of consular dignity. As things are now, since every fence 
of modesty and decorum is broken down, and all distinctions 
are levelled and confounded, the present young generation, 
so far from waiting to be introduced, break in of their own 
free will. The audience at their heels are fit attendants upon 
such orators ; a low rabble of hired mercenaries, supplied by 
contract. They get together in the middle of the court, 
where the dole is dealt round to them as openly as if they 
were in a "dining-room : and at this noble price they run from 
court to court. The Greeks have an appropriate name in their 
language for this sort of people, importing that they are 
applauders by profession, and we stigmatize them with the 
opprobrious title of table-flatterers: yet the dirty business al- 
luded to increases every day. It was only yesterday two of 
my domestic officers, mere striplings, were hired to cheer 
somebody or other, at three denarii apiece:^ that is what the 
highest eloquence goes for. Upon these terms we fill as 
many benches as we please, and gather a crowd ; this is how 
those rending shouts are raised, as soon as the individual 
standing up in the middle of the ring gives the signal. For, 
you must know, these honest fellows, who understand nothing 
of what is said, or, if they did, could not hear it, would be at 
a loss without a signal, how to time their applause : for many 
of them don't hear a syllable, and are as noisy as any of the 
rest. If, at any time, you should happen to be passing 
by when the court is sitting, and feel at all interested to know 
how any speaker is acquitting himself, you have no occasion 
to give yourself the trouble of getting up on the judge's plat- 
form, no need to listen; it is easy enough to find out, for 
you may be quite sure he that gets most applause deserves it 
the least. Largius Licinus was the first to introduce this 
fashion; but then he went no farther than to go round and 
solicit an audience. I know, I remember hearing this from 
my tutor Quinctihan. 'T used," he told me, "to go and hear 
Domitius Afer, and as he was pleading once before the 
Hundred in his usual slow and impressive manner, hearing, 
close to him, a most immoderate and unusual noise, and be- 
ing a good deal surprised at this, he left off : the noise ceased, 
and he began again: he was interrupted a second time, and 

1 About 54 cents. 


a third. At last he enquired who it was that was speaking? 
He was told, Licinus. Upon which, he broke off the case, 
exclaiming, ' Eloquence is no more !' " The truth is it had 
only begun to decline then, when in Afer's opinion it no 
longer existed : whereas now it is almost extinct. I am 
ashamed to tell you of the mincing and affected pronunci- 
ation of the speakers, and of the shrill-voiced applause with 
which their effusions are received; nothing seems wanting 
to complete this sing-song performance except claps, or 
rather cymbals and tambourines. Howlings indeed (for I 
can call such applause, which would be indecent even in the 
theatre, by no other name) abound in plenty. Up to this 
time the interest of my friends and the consideration of my 
early time of life have kept me in this court, as I am afraid 
they might think I was doing it to shirk work rather than 
to avoid these indecencies, were I to leave it just yet: how- 
ever, I go there less frequently than I did, and am thus 
effecting a gradual retreat. Farewell. 


To Gallus 

You are surprised that I am so fond of my Laurentine, 
or (if you prefer the name) my Laurens: but you will cease 
to wonder when I acquaint you with the beauty of the villa, 
the advantages of its situation, and the extensive view of 
the sea-coast. It is only seventeen miles from Rome: so 
that when I have finished my business in town, I can pass 
my evenings here after a good satisfactory day's work- 
There are two different roads to it: if you go by that of 
Laurentum, you must turn off at the fourteenth mile-stone; 
if by Astia, at the eleventh. Both of them are sandy in places, 
.which makes it a little heavier and longer by carriage, 
but short and easy on horseback. The landscape affords plenty 
of variety, the view in some places being closed in by woods, 
in others extending over broad meadows, where numerous 
flocks of sheep and herds of cattle, which the severity of the 
winter has driven from the mountains, fatten in the spring 
warmth, and on the rich pasturage. My villa is of a con- 

232 PLINY 

venient size without being expensive to keep up. The court- 
yard in front is plain, but not mean, through which you 
enter porticoes shaped into the form of the letter D, enclosing 
a small but cheerful area between. These make a capital 
retreat for bad weather, not only as they are shut in with 
windows, but particularly as they are sheltered by a pro- 
jection of the roof. From the middle of these porticoes you 
pass into a bright pleasant inner court, and out of that into 
a handsome hall running out towards the sea-shore; so that 
when there is a south-west breeze, it is gently washed with 
the waves, which spend themselves at its base. On every 
side of this hall there are either folding-doors or windows 
equally large, by which means you have a view from the 
front and the two sides of three different seas, as it were: 
from the back you see the middle court, the portico, and 
the area; and from another point you look through the 
portico into the courtyard, and out upon the woods and dis- 
tant mountains beyond. On the left hand of this hall, a 
little farther from the sea, lies a large drawing-room, and 
beyond that, a second of a smaller size, which has one window 
to the rising and another to the setting sun : this as well has 
a view of the sea, but more distant and agreeable. The angle 
formed by the projection of the dining-room with this draw- 
ing-room retains and intensifies the warmth of the sun, and 
this forms our winter quarters and family gymnasium, which 
is sheltered from all the winds except those which bring 
on clouds, but the clear sky comes out again before the 
warmth has gone out of the place. Adjoining this angle is 
a room forming the segment of a circle, the windows of 
which are so arranged as to get the sun all through the day : 
in the walls are contrived a sort of cases, containing a 
collection of authors who can never be read too often. 
Next to this is a bed-room, connected with it by a raised 
passage furnished with pipes, which supply, at a wholesome 
temperature, and distribute to all parts of this room, the heat 
they receive. The rest of this side of the house is appropriated 
to the use of my slaves and freedmen; but most of the 
rooms in it are respectable enough to put my guests into. 
In the opposite wing is a most elegant, tastefully fitted «p 
bed-room; next to which lies another, which you may call 


either a large bed-room or a modified dining-room ; it is very 
warm and light, not only from the direct rays of the sun, but 
by their reflection from the sea. Beyond this is a bed-room 
with an ante-room, the height of which renders it cool in 
summer, its thick walls warm in winter, for it is sheltered, 
every way from the winds. To this apartment another ante- 
room is joined by one common wall. From thence you 
enter into the wide and spacious cooling-room belonging to 
the bath, from the opposite walls of which two curved basins 
are thrown out, so to speak; which are more than large 
enough if you consider that the sea is close at hand. Ad- 
jacent to this is the anointing-room, then the sweating- 
room, and beyond that the bath-heating room : adjoining are 
two other little bath-rooms, elegantly rather than sumptu- 
ously fitted up: annexed to them is a warm bath of wonder- 
ful construction, in which one can swim and take a view 
of the sea at the same time. Not far from this stands the 
tennis-court, which lies open to the warmth of the afternoon 
sun. From thence you go up a sort of turret which has 
two rooms below, with the same number above, besides a 
dining-room commanding a very extensive look-out on to 
the sea, the coast, and the beautiful villas scattered along the 
shore line. At the other end is a second turret, containing 
a room that gets the rising and setting sun. Behind this 
is a large store-room and granary, and underneath, a 
spacious dining-room, where only the murmur and break of 
the sea can be heard, even in a storm : it looks out upon the 
garden, and the gestatio^ running round the garden. The 
gestatio is bordered round with box, and, where that is de- 
cayed, with rosemary: for the box, wherever sheltered by 
the buildings, grows plentifully, but where it lies open and 
exposed to the weather and spray from the sea, though at 
some distance from the latter, it quite withers up. Next 
the gestatio, and running along inside it, is a shady vine- 
plantation, the path of which is so soft and easy to the tread 
that you may walk bare-foot upon it. The garden is chiefly 
planted with fig and mulberry trees, to which this soil is as 
favourable as it is averse from all others. Here is a dining- 
room, which, though it stands away from the sea, enjoys 

* Avenue. 

234 PLINY 

the garden view which is Just as pleasant : two apartments run 
round the back part of it, the windows of which look out 
upon the entrance of the villa, and into a fine kitchen-garden. 
From here extends an enclosed portico which, from its 
great length, you might take for a public one. It has a range 
of windows on either side, but more on the side facing the 
sea, and fewer on the garden side, and these, single windows 
and alternate with the opposite rows. In calm, clear, 
weather these are all thrown open ; but if it blows, those on 
the weather side are closed, whilst those away from the 
wind can remain open without any inconvenience. Before 
this enclosed portico lies a terrace fragrant with the scent 
of violets, and warmed by the reflection of the sun from the 
portico, which, while it retains the rays, keeps away the 
north-east wind; and it is as warm on this side as it is cool 
on the side opposite: in the same way it is a protection 
against the wind from the south-west; and thus, in short, 
by means of its several sides, breaks the force of the winds, 
from whatever quarter they may blow. These are some 
of its winter advantages, they are still more appreciable in 
the summer time; for at that season it throws a shade upon 
the terrace during the whole of the forenoon, and upon the 
adjoining portion of the gestatio and garden in the after- 
noon, casting a greater or less shade on this side or on that 
as the day increases or decreases. But the portico itself is 
coolest just at the time when the sun is at its hottest, that 
is, when the rays fall directly upon the roof. Also, by open- 
ing the windows you let in the western breezes in a free 
current, which prevents the place getting oppressive with close 
and stagnant air. At the upper end of the terrace and por- 
tico stands a detached garden building, which I call my 
favourite; my favourite indeed, as I put it up myself. It 
contains a very warm winter-room, one side of which looks 
down upon the terrace, while the other has a view of the sea, 
and both lie exposed to the sun. The bed-room opens on to 
the covered portico by means of folding-doors, while its win- 
dow looks out upon the sea. On that side next the sea, and 
facing the middle wall, is formed a very elegant little recess, 
which, by means of transparent^ windows, and a curtain 

' " Windows made of a transparent stone called lapis speciilaris (mica), 


drawn to or aside, can be made part of the adjoining room, 
or separated from it. It contains a couch and two chairs : as 
you He upon this couch, from where your feet are you get 
a peep of the sea; looking behind you see the neighbouring 
villas, and from the head you have a view of the woods : these 
three views may be seen either separately, from so many dif- 
ferent windows, or blended together in one. Adjoining this 
is a bed-room, which neither the servants' voices, the murmur- 
ing of the sea, the glare of lightning, nor daylight itself can 
penetrate, unless you open the windows. This profound tran- 
quillity and seclusion are occasioned by a passage sepa- 
rating the wall of this room from that of the garden, and 
thus, by means of this intervening space, every noise is 
drowned. Annexed to this is a tiny stove-room, which, by 
opening or shutting a little aperture, lets out or retains the 
heat from underneath, according as you require. Beyond 
this lie a bed-room and ante-room, which enjoy the sun, 
though obliquely indeed, from the time it rises, till the after- 
noon. When I retire to this garden summer-house, I fancy 
myself a hundred miles away from my villa, and take especial 
pleasure in it at the feast of the Saturnalia,' when, by the 
licence of that festive season, every other part of my house 
resounds with my servants' mirth: thus I neither interrupt 
their amusement nor they my studies. Amongst the pleasures 
and conveniences of this situation, there is one drawback, 
and that is, the want of running water; but then there are 
wells about the place, or rather springs, for they lie close 
to the surface. And, altogether, the quality of this coast is 
remarkable; for dig where you may, you meet, upon the 
first turning up of the ground, with a spring of water, quite 
pure, not in the least salt, although so near the sea. The 
neighbouring woods supply us with all the fuel we require, 
the other necessaries Ostia furnishes. Indeed, to a moderate 
man, even the village (between which and my house there is 
only one villa) would supply all ordinary requirements. It has 

which was first found in Hispania Citerior, and afterwards in Cyprus, 
Cappadocia, Sicily, and Africa; but the best came from Spain and Cap- 
padocia. It was easily split into the thinnest sheets. Windows made of 
this stone were called specularia." Smith's Dictionary of Antiquities. 

^ A feast held in honour of the god Saturn, which began on the igth 
of December, and continued, as some say, for seven days. It was a time 
of general rejoicing, particularly among the slaves, who had at this season 
the privilege of taking great liberties with their masters. M. 

236 PLINY 

three public baths, which are a great convenience if it happen 
that friends come in unexpectedly, or make too short a stay 
to allow time in preparing my own. The whole coast is 
very pleasantly sprinkled with villas either in rows or de- 
tached, which whether looking at them from the sea or the 
shore, present the appearance of so many different cities. 
The strand is, sometimes, after a long calm, perfectly smooth, 
though, in general, through the storms driving the waves upon 
it, it is rough and uneven. I cannot boast that our sea is 
plentiful in choice fish; however, it supplies us with capital 
soles and prawns; but as to other kinds of provisions, my 
villa aspires to excel even inland countries, particularly in 
milk: for the cattle come up there from the meadows in 
large numbers, in pursuit of water and shade. Tell me, now, 
have I not good reason for living in, staying in, loving, such 
a retreat, which, if you feel no appetite for, you must be 
morbidly attached to town ? And I only wish you would feel 
inclined to come down to it, that to so many charms with 
which my little villa abounds, it might have the very con- 
siderable addition of your company to recommend it. Fare- 


To Cerealis 

You advise me to read my late speech before an assem- 
blage of my friends. I shall do so, as you advise it, though 
I have strong scruples. Compositions of this sort lose, I 
well know, all their force and fire, and even their very 
name almost, by a mere recital. It is the solemnity of 
the tribunal^ the concourse of advocates, the suspense of 
the event, the fame of the several pleaders concerned, the 
different parties formed amongst the audience; add to this 
the gestures, the pacing, aye the actual running, to and fro, 
of the speaker, the body working^ in harmony with every 
inward emotion, that conspire to give a spirit and a grace 

^ Cicero and Quintilian have laid down rules how far, and in what in- 
stances, this liberty was allowable, and both agree it ought to be used with 
great sagacity and judgment. The latter of these excellent critics mentions 
a witticism of Flavius Virginius, who asked one of these orators, " Quot 
millia Passuum dedamasset? " How many miles he had declaimed. M. 



to what he delivers. This is the reason that those who 
plead sitting, though they retain most of the advantages 
possessed by those who stand up to plead, weaken the 
whole force of their oratory. The eyes and hands of the 
reader, those important instruments of graceful elocution, 
being engaged, it is no wonder that the attention of the 
audience droops, without anything extrinsic to keep it up, 
no allurements of gesture to attract, no smart, stinging 
impromptus to enliven. To these general considerations 
I must add this particular disadvantage which attends the 
speech in question, that it is of the argumentative kind; 
and it is natural for an author to infer that what he wrote 
with labour will not be read with pleasure. For who is 
there so unprejudiced as not to prefer the attractive and 
sonorous to the sombre and unornamented in style? It is 
very unreasonable that there should be any distinction; 
however, it is certain the judges generally expect one style 
of pleading, and the audience another; whereas an auditor 
ought to be afifected only by those parts which would espe- 
cially strike him, were he in the place of the judge. Never- 
theless it is possible the objections which lie against this 
piece may be surmounted in consideration of the novelty it 
has to recommend it: the novelty I mean with respect to 
us; for the Greek orators have a method of reasoning upon 
a different occasion, not altogether unlike that which I 
have employed. They, when they would throw out a law, 
as contrary to some former one unrepealed, argue by com- 
paring those together; so I, on the contrary, endeavour to 
prove that the crime, which I was insisting upon as falHng 
within the intent and meaning of the law relating to 
public extortions, was agreeable, not only to that law, but 
likewise to other laws of the same nature. Those who are 
ignorant of the jurisprudence of their country can have 
no taste for reasonings of this kind, but those who are not 
ought to be proportionably the more favourable in the 
judgments they pass upon them. I shall endeavour, there- 
fore, if you persist in my reciting it, to collect as learned 
an audience as I can. But before you determine this 
point, do weigh impartially the different considerations I 
have laid before you, and then decide as reason shall direct; 

238 PLINY 

for it is reason that must justify you; obedience to your 
commands will be a sufficient apology for me. Farewell. 

To Calvisius 

Give me a penny, and I will tell you a story "worth 
gold," of, rather, you shall hear two or three; for one 
brings to my mind another. It makes no difference with 
which I begin. Verania, the widow of Piso, the Piso, I 
mean, whom Galba adopted, lay extremely ill, and Regulus 
paid her a visit. By the way, mark the assurance of the 
man, visiting a lady who detested him herself, and to whose 
husband he was a declared enemy ! Even barely to enter 
her house would have been bad enough, but he actually 
went and seated himself by her bed-side and began 
enquiring on what day and hour she was born. Being 
informed of these important particulars, he composes his 
countenance, fixes his eyes, mutters something to himself, 
counts upon his fingers, and all this merely to keep the poor 
sick lady in suspense. When he had finished, "You are," 
he says, "in one of your climacterics; however, you will 
get over it. But for your greater satisfaction, t will con- 
sult with a certain diviner, whose skill I have frequently 
experienced." Accordingly off he goes, performs a sacri- 
fice, and returns with the strongest assurances that the 
omens confirmed what he had promised on the part of the 
stars. Upon this the good woman, whose danger made 
her credulous, calls for her will and gives Regulus a 
legacy. She grew worse shortly after this; and in her 
last moments exclaimed against this wicked, treacherous, 
and worse than perjured wretch, who had sworn falsely to 
her by his own son's life. But imprecations of this sort 
are as common with Regulus as they are impious; and he 
continually devotes that unhappy youth to the curse of 
those gods whose vengeance his own frauds every day 

Velleius Blaesus, a man of consular rank, and remark- 
able for his immense wealth, in his last illness was anxious 



to make some alterations in his will. Regulus, who had 
lately endeavoured to insinuate himself into his good 
graces, hoped to get something from the new will, and 
accordingly addresses himself to his physicians, and 
conjures them to exert all their skill to prolong the poor 
man's life. But after the will was signed, he changes his 
character, reversing his tone: "How long," says he to 
these very same physicians, "do you intend keeping this 
man in misery? Since you cannot preserve his life, why- 
do you grudge him the happy release of death?" Blaesus 
dies, and, as if he had overheard every word that Regulus 
had said, has not left him one farthing. — And now have 
you had enough? or are you for the third, according 
to rhetorical canon? If so, Regulus will supply you. 
You must know, then, that Aurelia, a lady of remarkable 
accomplishments, purposing to execute her will,^ had put 
on her smartest dress for the occasion. Regulus, who was 
present as a witness, turned to the lady, and "Pray," says 
he, "leave me these fine clothes." Aurelia thought the 
man was joking: but he insisted upon it perfectly 
seriously, and, to be brief, obliged her to open her will, 
and insert the dress she had on as a legacy to him, watch- 
ing as she wrote, and then looking over it to see that 
it was all down correctly. Aurelia, however, is still alive: 
though Regulus, no doubt, when he solicited this bequest, 
expected to enjoy it pretty soon. The fellow gets estates, 
he gets legacies, conferred upon him, as if he really 
deserved them! But why should I go on dwelling upon 
this in a city where wickedness and knavery have, for 
this time past, received, the same, do I say, nay, even 
greater encouragement, than modesty and virtue? Regulus 
is a glaring instance of this truth, who, from a state of 
poverty, has by a train of villainies acquired such immense 
riches that he once told me, upon consulting the omens to 
know how soon he should be worth sixty millions of ses- 
terces,^ he found them so favourable as to portend he 
should possess double that sum. And possibly he may, if 

1 This was an act of great ceremony; and if Aurelia's dress was of the 
kind which some of the Roman ladies used, the legacy must have been 
considerable which Regulus had the impudence to ask. M. 

* $2,350,000. 

240 PLINY 

he continues to dictate wills for other people in this way: 
a sort of fraud, in my opinion, the most infamous of any. 


To Calvisius 

I NEVER, I think, spent any time more agreeably than my 
time lately with Spurinna. So agreeably, indeed, that if 
ever I should arrive at old age, there is no man whom I 
would sooner choose for my model, for nothing can be 
more perfect in arrangement than his mode of life. I look 
upon order in human actions, especially at that advanced 
age, with the same sort of pleasure as I behold the settled 
course of the heavenly bodies. In young men, indeed, a 
little confusion and disarrangement is all well enough: but 
in age, when business is unseasonable, and ambition in- 
decent, all should be composed and uniform. This rule 
Spurinna observes with the most religious consistency. 
Even in those matters which one might call insignificant, 
were they not of every-day occurrence, he observes a 
certain periodical season and method. The early morning 
he passes on his couch; at eight he calls for his slippers, 
and walks three miles, exercising mind and body together. 
On his return, if he has any friends in the house with him, 
he gets upon some entertaining and interesting topic of 
conversation; if by himself, some book is read to him, 
sometimes when visitors are there even, if agreeable to the 
company. Then he has a rest, and after that either takes 
up a book or resumes his conversation in preference to 
reading. By-and-by he goes out for a drive in his carriage, 
either with his wife, a most admirable woman, or with 
some friend: a happiness which lately was mine. — How 
agreeable, how delightful it is getting a quiet time alone 
with him in this way ! You could imagine you were 
listening to some worthy of ancient times! What deeds, 
what men you hear about, and with what noble precepts 
you are imbued! Yet all delivered with so modest an air 
that there is not the least appearance of dictating. When 
he has gone about ^seven miles, he gets out of his chariot 


and walks a mile more, after which he returns home, and 
either takes a rest or goes back to his couch and writing. 
For he composes most elegant lyrics both in Greek and 
Latin. So wonderfully soft, sweet, and gay they are, 
while the author's own unsullied life lends them additional 
charm. When the baths are ready, which in winter is 
about three o'clock, and in summer about two, he un- 
dresses himself and, if their happen to be no wind, walks 
for some time in the sun. After this he has a good brisk 
game of tennis: for by this sort of exercise too, he com- 
bats the effects of old age. When he has bathed, he 
throws himself upon his couch, but waits a little before he 
begins eating, and in the meanwhile has some light and 
entertaining author read to him. In this, as in all the rest, 
his friends are at full liberty to share; or to employ them- 
selves in any other way, just as they prefer. You sit down 
to an elegant dinner, without extravagant display, which 
is served up in antique plate of pure silver. He has 
another complete service in Corinthian metal, which, 
though he admires as a curiosity, is far from being his 
passion. During dinner he is frequently entertained with 
the recital of some dramatic piece, by way of seasoning 
his very pleasures with study; and although he continues 
at the table, even in summer, till the night is somewhat 
advanced, yet he prolongs the entertainment with so much 
affability and politeness that none of his guests ever finds 
it tedious. By this method of living he has preserved all 
his senses entire, and his body vigorous and active to his 
seventy-eighth year, without showing any sign of old age 
except wisdom. This is the sort of life I ardently aspire 
after; as I purpose enjoying it when I shall arrive at 
those years which will justify a retreat from active life. 
Meanwhile I am embarrassed with a thousand affairs, in 
which Spurinna is at once my support and my example: 
for he too, so long as it became him, discharged his profes- 
sional duties, held magistracies, governed provinces, and 
by toiling hard earned the repose he now enjoys. I pro- 
pose to myself the same career and the same limits : and 
I here give it to you under my hand that I do so. If an 
ill-timed ambition should carry me beyond those bounds, 

242 PLINY 

produce this very letter of mine in court against me; and 
condemn me to repose, whenever I enjoy it without being 
reproached with indolence. Farewell. 


To Baebius Macer 

It gives me great pleasure to find you such a reader of 
my uncle's works as to wish to have a complete collection 
of them, and to ask me for the names of them all. I will 
act as index then, and you shall know the very order in 
which they were written, for the studious reader likes to 
know this. The first work of his was a treatise in one vol- 
ume, "On the Use of the Dart by Cavalry"; this he wrote 
when in command of one of the cavalry corps of our allied 
troops, and is drawn up with great care and ingenuity. 
"The Life of Pomponius Secundus,"^ in two volumes. Pom- 
ponius had a great affection for him, and he thought he 
owed this tribute to his memory. " The History of the 
Wars in Germany," in twenty books, in which he gave an 
account of all the battles we were engaged in against that 
nation. A dream he had while serving in the army in 
Germany first suggested the design of this work to him. 
He imagined that Drusus Nero^ (who extended his con- 
quest very far into that country, and there lost his life) 
appeared to him in his sleep, and entreated him to rescue 
his memory from oblivion. Next comes a work entitled 
" The Student," in three parts, which from their length 
spread into six volumes : a work in which is discussed the 
earliest training and subsequent education of the orator. 
" Questions of Grammar and Style," in eight books, written 
in the latter part of Nero's reign, when the tyranny of the 
times made it dangerous to engage in literary pursuits 
requiring freedom and elevation of tone. He has com- 

1 A poet to whom Quintilian assigns the highest rank, as a writer of 
tragedies, among his contemporaries (book x. c. i. 98). Tacitus also speaks 
of him in terms of high appreciation (Annals, v. 8). 

* Stepson of Augustus and brother to Tiberius. An amiable and popu- 
lar prince. He died at the close of his third campaign, from a fracture 
received by falling from his horse. 


pleted the history which Aufidius Bassus' left unfinished, 
and has added to it thirty books. And lastly he has left 
thirty-seven books on Natural History, a work of great 
compass and learning, and as full of variety as nature her- 
self. You will wonder how a man as busy as he was 
could find time to compose so many books, and some of 
them too involving such care and labour. But you will 
be still more surprised when you hear that he pleaded at 
the bar for some time, that he died in his sixty-sixth year, 
that the intervening time was employed partly in the exe- 
cution of the highest official duties, partly in attendance 
upon those emperors who honoured him with their friend- 
ship. But he had a quick apprehension, marvellous power 
of application, and was of an exceedingly wakeful tempera- 
ment. He always began to study at midnight at the time 
of the feast of Vulcan, not for the sake of good luck, but 
for learning's sake; in winter generally at one in the 
morning, but never later than two, and often at twelve.* 
He was a most ready sleeper, insomuch that he would some- 
times, whilst in the midst of his studies, fall off and then 
wake up again. Before day-break he used to wait upon 
Vespasian (who also used his nights for transacting busi- 
ness in), and then proceed to execute the orders he had 
received. As soon as he returned home, he gave what time 
was left to study. After a short and light refreshment at 
noon (agreeably to the good old custom of our ancestors) 
he would frequently in the summer, if he was disengaged 
from business, He down and bask in the sun; during which 
time some author was read to him, while he took notes and 

»A historian under Augustus and Tiberius. He wrote part of a history 
of Rome, which was continued by the elder Pliny; also an account of the 
German war, to which Quintilian makes allusion (Inst. x. 103), pronouncing 
him, as a historian, "estimable in all respects, yet in some things failing 
to do himself justice." 

*The distribution of time among the Romans was very different from 
ours. They divided the night into four equal parts, which they called 
watches, each three hours in length; and part of these they devoted either 
to the pleasures of the table or to study. The natural day they divided 
into twelve hours, the first beginning with sunrise, and the last ending 
with sunset; by which means their hours were of unequal length, varying 
according to the different seasons of the year. The time for business began 
with sunrise, and continued to the fifth hour, being that of dinner, which 
with them was only a slight repast. From thence to the seventh hour was 
a time of repose; a custom which still prevails in Italy. The eighth hour 
was employed in bodily exercises; after which they constantly bathed, and 
from thence went to supper. M. 

244 PLINY 

made extracts, for every book he read he made extracts out 
of, indeed it was a maxim of his, that " no book was so bad 
but some good might be got out of it." When this was over, 
he generally took a cold bath, then some light refreshment 
and a little nap. After this, as if it had been a new day, he 
studied till supper-time, when a book was again read to him, 
which he would take down running notes upon. I remem- 
ber once his reader having mis-pronounced a word, one of 
my uncle's friends at the table made him go back to where 
the word was and repeat it again ; upon which my uncle said 
to his friend, " Surely you understood it ? " Upon his ac- 
knowledging that he did, " Why then," said he, " did you 
make him go back again? We have lost more than ten lines 
by this interruption." Such an economist he was of time ! 
In the summer he used to rise from supper at daylight, and 
in winter as soon as it was dark: a rule he observed as 
strictly as if it had been a law of the state. Such was his 
manner of life amid the bustle and turmoil of the town: 
but in the country his whole time was devoted to study, 
excepting only when he bathed. In this exception I in- 
clude no more than the time during which he was actually 
in the bath; for all the while he was being rubbed and 
wiped, he was employed either in hearing some book read 
to him or in dictating himself. In going about anywhere, 
as though he were disengaged from all other business, he 
applied his mind wholly to that single pursuit. A short- 
hand writer constantly attended him, with book and tablets, 
who, in the winter, wore a particular sort of warm gloves, 
that the sharpness of the weather might not occasion any 
interruption to my uncle's studies: and for the same reason, 
when in Ronve, he was always carried in a chair. I recol- 
lect his once taking me to task for walking. " You need 
not," he said, "lose these liours." For he thought every hour 
gone that was not given to study. Through this extraordi- 
nary application he found time to compose the several 
treatises I have mentioned, besides one hundred and sixty 
volumes of extracts which he left me in his will, consisting 
of a kind of common-place, written on both sides, in very 
small hand, so that one might fairly reckon the number con- 
siderably more. He used himself to tell us that when he was 


comptroller of the revenue in Spain, he could have sold these 
manuscripts to Largius Licinus for four hundred thousand 
sesterces,"^ and then there were not so many of them. When 
you consider the books he has read, and the volumes he has 
>vritten, are you not inclined to suspect that he never was 
engaged in public duties or was ever in the confidence of 
his prince? On the other hand, when you are told how in- 
defatigable he was in his studies, are you not inclined to 
wonder that he read and wrote no more than he did? For, 
on one side, what obstacles would not the business of a 
court throw in his way? and on the other, what is it that 
such intense application might not effect ? It amuses me then 
when I hear myself called a studious man, who in compari- 
son with him am the merest idler. But why do I mention 
myself, who am diverted from these pursuits by numberless 
affairs both public and private? Who amongst those whose 
whole lives are devoted to literary pursuits would not blush 
and feel himself the most confirmed of sluggards by the side 
of him? I see I have run out my letter farther than I had 
originally intended, which was only to let you know, as 
you asked me, what works he had left behind him. But I 
trust this will be no less acceptable to you than the books 
themselves, as it may, possibly, not only excite your 
curiosity to read his works, but also your emulation to copy 
his example, by some attempts of a similar nature. Farewell. 


To Annius Severus 

I HAVE lately purchased with a legacy that was left me 
a small statue of Corinthian brass. It is small indeed, but 
elegant and life-like, as far as I can form any judgment, 
which most certainly in matters of this sort, as perhaps in 
all others, is extremely defective. However, I do see the 
beauties of this figure: for, as it is naked the faults, if 
there be any, as well as the perfections, are the more ob- 
servable. It represents an old man, in an erect attitude. 
The bones, muscles, veins, and the very wrinkles, give the 

* $16,000. 

246 PLINY 

impression of breathing life. The hair is thin and failing, 
the forehead broad, the face shrivelled, the throat lank, the 
arms loose and hanging, the breast shrunken, and the belly 
fallen in, as the whole turn and air of the figure behind 
too is equally expressive of old age. It appears to be true 
antique, judging from the colour of the brass. In short, it 
is such a masterpiece as would strike the eyes of a connois- 
seur, and which cannot fail to charm an ordinary observer; 
and this induced me, who am an absolute novice in this 
art, to buy it. But I did so, not with any intention of 
placing it in my own house (for I have nothing of the kind 
there), but with a design of fixing it in some conspicuous 
place in my native province; I should like it best in the 
temple of Jupiter, for it is a gift well worthy of a temple, 
well worthy of a god. I desire therefore you would, with 
that care with which you always perform my requests, 
undertake this commission and give immediate orders for a 
pedestal to be made for it, out of what marble you please, 
but let my name be engraved upon it, and, if you think 
proper to add these as well, my titles. I will send the 
statue by the first person I can find who will not mind the 
trouble of it; or possibly (which I am sure you will like 
better) I may myself bring it along with me: for I intend, 
if business can spare me that is to say, to make an ex- 
cursion over to you. I see joy in your looks when I promise 
to come; but you will soon change your countenance when 
I add, only for a few days: for the same business that at 
present keeps me here will prevent my making a longer 
stay. Farewell. 


To Caninius Rufus 

I HAVE just been informed that Silius Italicus^ has starved 
himself to death, at his villa near Naples. Ill-health was 
the cause. Being troubled with an incurable cancerous 

* Born about a. d. 25. He acquired some distinction as an advocate. 
The only poem of his which has come down to us is a heavy prosaic per- 
formance m seventeen books, entitled " Tunica," and containing an account 
of the events of the Second Punic War, from the capture of Saguntum to 
the triumph of Scipio Africanus. See Smith's Diet, of Gr. and Rom. Biog. 


humour, he grew weary of life and therefore put an end to 
it with a determination not to be moved. He had been 
extremely fortunate all through his life with the exception 
of the death of the younger of his two sons; however, he 
has left behind him the elder and the worthier man of the 
two in a position of distinction, having even attained consu- 
lar rank. His reputation had suffered a little in Nero's time, 
as he was suspected of having officiously joined in some of 
the informations in that reign; but he used his interest with 
Vitellius, with great discretion and humanity. He acquired 
considerable honour by his administration of the govern- 
ment of Asia, and, by his good conduct after his retirement 
from business, cleared his character from that stain which 
his former public exertions had thrown upon it. He lived 
as a private nobleman, without power, and consequently 
without envy. Though he was frequently confined to his 
bed, and always^ to his room, yet he was highly respected, 
and much visited; not with an interested view, but on his 
own account. He employed his time between conversing 
with literary men and composing verses; which he some- 
times read out, by way of testing the public opinion: but 
they evidence more industry than genius. In the decline of 
his years he entirely quitted Rome, and lived altogether in 
Campania, from whence even the accession of the new 
emperor^ could not draw him. — 1^ circumstance which I 
mention as much to the honour of Caesar, who was not dis- 
pleased with that liberty, as of Italicus, who was not afraid 
to make use of it. He was reproached with indulging his 
taste for the fine arts at an immoderate expense. He had 
several villas in the same province, and the last purchase 
was always the especial favourite, to the neglect of all the 
rest. These residences overflowed with books, statues, and 
pictures, which he more than enjoyed, he even adored; par- 
ticularly that of Virgil, of whom he was so passionate an 
admirer that he celebrated the anniversary of that poet's 
birthday with more solemnity than his own, at Naples es- 
pecially where he used to approach his tomb as if it had 
been a temple. In this tranquillity he passed his seventy- 
fifth year, with a delicate rather than an infirm constitution. 

" Trajan. 

248 PLINY 

As he was the last person upon whom Nero conferred the 
consular office, so he was the last survivor of all those who 
had been raised by him to that dignity. It is also remark- 
able that, as he was the last to die of Nero's consuls, so 
Nero died when he was consul. Recollecting this, a feel- 
ing of pity for the transitory condition of mankind comes 
over me. Is there anything in nature so short and limited 
as human life, even at its longest? Does it not seem to 
you but yesterday that Nero was alive? And yet not one 
of all those who were consuls in his reign now remains ! 
Though why should I wonder at this? Lucius Piso (the 
father of that Piso who was so infamously assassinated by 
Valerius Festus in Africa) used to say, he did not see one 
person in the senate whose opinion he had consulted 
when he was consul: in so short a space is the very term 
of life of such a multitude of beings comprised ! so that 
to me those royal tears seem not only worthy of pardon 
but of praise. For it is said that Xerxes, on surveying 
his immense army, wept at the reflection that so many 
thousand lives would in such a short space of time be 
extinct. The more ardent therefore should be our zeal to 
lengthen out this frail and transient portion of existence, 
if not by our deeds (for the opportunities of this are not in 
our power) yet certainly by our literary accomplishments; 
and since long life is denied us, let us transmit to posterity 
some memorial that we have at least lived. I well know 
you need no incitements, but the warmth of my affection for 
you inclines me to urge you on in the course you are 
already pursuing, just as you have so often urged me. 
" Happy rivalry " when two friends strive in this way which 
of them shall animate the other most in their mutual pursuit 
of immortal fame. Farewell. 


To Spurinna and Cottia'^ 

I DID not tell you, when I paid you my last visit, that I 
had composed something in praise of your son; because 
1 Spurinna's wife. 


in the first place, I wrote it not for the sake of talking 
about my performance, but simply to satisfy my affection, 
to console my sorrow for the loss of him. Again, as you 
told me, my dear Spurinna, that you had heard I had been 
reciting a piece of mine, I imagined you had also heard at 
the same time what was the subject of the recital, and besides 
I was afraid of casting a gloom over your cheerfulness in 
that festive season, by reviving the remembrance of that 
heavy sorrow. And even now I have hesitated a little 
whether I should gratify you both, in your joint request, 
by sending only what I recited, or add to it what I am 
thinking of keeping back for another essay. It does not 
satisfy my feelings to devote only one little tract to a memory 
so dear and sacred to me, and it seemed also more to the 
interest of his fame to have it thus disseminated by 
separate pieces. But the consideration, that it will be 
more open and friendly to send you the whole now, rather 
than keep back some of it to another time, has determined 
me to do the former, especially as I have your promise 
that it shall not be communicated by either of you to any- 
one else, until I shall think proper to publish it. The 
only remaining favour I ask is, that you will give me a 
proof of the same unreserve by pointing out to me what 
you shall judge would be best altered, omitted, or added. 
It is difficult for a mind in affliction to concentrate itself 
upon such little cares. However, as you would direct a 
painter or sculptor who was representing the figure of 
your son what parts he should retouch or express, so I 
hope you will guide and inform my hand in this more 
durable or (as you are pleased to think it) this immortal 
likeness which I am endeavouring to execute: for the 
truer to the original, the more perfect and finished it is, 
so much the more lasting it is likely to prove. Farewell. 


To Julius Genitor 

It is just like the generous disposition of Artemidorus 
to magnify the kindnesses of his friends; hence he praises 

250 PLINY 

my deserts (though he is really indebted to me) beyond 
their due. It is true indeed that when the philosophers 
were expelled from Rome/ I visited him at his house near the 
city, and ran the greater risk in paying him that civility, 
as it was more noticeable then, I being praetor at the time. 
I supplied him too with a considerable sum to pay certain 
debts he had contracted upon very honourable occasions, 
without charging interest, though obliged to borrow the 
money myself, while the rest of his rich powerful friends 
stood by hesitating about giving him assistance. I did this 
at a time when seven of my friends were either executed or 
banished; Senecio, Rusticus, and Helvidius having just been 
put to death, while Mauricus, Gratilla, Arria, and Fannia, 
were sent into exile; and scorched as it were by so many 
lightning-bolts of the state thus hurled and flashing round 
me, I augured by no uncertain tokens my own impending 
doom. But I do not look upon myself, on that account, as 
deserving of the high praises my friend bestows upon me: 
all I pretend to is the being clear of the infamous guilt of 
abandoning him in his misfortunes. I had, as far as the 
differences between our ages would admit, a friendship for 
his father-in-law Musonius, whom I both loved and es- 
teemed, while Artemidorus himself I entered into the closest 
intimacy with when I was serving as a military tribune in 
Syria. And I consider as a proof that there is some good in 
me the fact of my being so early capable of appreciating a 
man who is either a philosopher or the nearest resem- 
blance to one possible ; for I am sure that, amongst all those 
who at the present day call themselves philosophers, you 
will find hardly any one of them so full of sincerity and 
truth as he. I forbear to mention how patient he is of heat 
and cold alike, how indefatigable in labour, how abstemious 
in his food, and what an absolute restraint he puts upon 
all his appetites; for these qualities, considerable as they 
would certainly be in any other character, are less notice- 
able by the side of the rest of those virtues of his which 
recommended him to Musonius for a son-in-law, in prefer- 
ence to so many others of all ranks who paid their addresses 

1 Domitian banished the philosophers not only from Rome, but Italy, as 
Suetonius (Dom. c. x.) and Aulus Gellius (Noct. Att. b. xv. cxi. 3, 4, 5) 
inform us; among these was the celebrated Epictetus. M. 


to his daughter. And when I think of all these things, I 
cannot help feeling pleasurably affected by those unqualified 
terms of praise in which he speaks of me to you as well as 
to everyone else. I am only apprehensive lest the warmth 
of his kind feeling carry him beyond the due limits; for he, 
who is so free from all other errors, is apt to fall into just 
this one good-natured one, of overrating the merits of his 
friends. Farewell. 


To Catilius Severus 

I WILL come to supper, but must make this agreement 
beforehand, that I go when I please, that you treat me to 
nothing expensive, and that our conversation abound only 
in Socratic discourse, while even that in moderation. There 
are certain necessary visits of ceremony, bringing people 
out before daylight, which Cato himself could not safely 
fall in with; though I must confess that Julius Caesar re- 
proaches him with that circumstance in such a manner as 
redounds to his praise; for he tells us that the persons who 
met him reeling home blushed at the discovery, and adds, 
"You would have thought that Cato had detected them, and 
not they Cato." Could he place the dignity of Cato in a 
stronger light than by representing him thus venerable even 
in his cups ? But let our supper be as moderate in regard to 
hours as in the preparation and expense : for we are not of 
such eminent reputation that even our enemies cannot cen- 
sure our conduct without applauding it at the same time. 


To AciLius 

The atrocious treatment that Largius Macedo, a man of 
praetorian rank, lately received at the hands of his slaves 
is so extremely tragical that it deserves a place rather in 
public history than in a private letter; though it must at 
the same time be acknowledged there was a haughtiness and 
severity in his behaviour towards them which shewed that 

252 PLINY 

he little remembered, indeed almost entirely forgot, the 
fact that his own father had once been in that station of 
life. He was bathing at his Formian Villa, when he found 
himself suddenly surrounded by his slaves; one seizes him 
by the throat, another strikes him on the mouth, whilst 
others trampled upon his breast, stomach, and even other 
parts which I need not mention. When they thought the 
breath must be quite out of his body, they threw him down 
upon the heated pavement of the bath, to try whether he 
were still alive, where he lay outstretched and motionless, 
either really insensible or only feigning to be so, upon 
which they concluded him to be actually dead. In this con- 
dition they brought him out, pretending that he had got 
suffocated by the heat of the bath. Some of his more 
trusty servants received him, and his mistresses came about 
him shrieking and lamenting. The noise of their cries and 
the fresh air, together, brought him a little to himself; he 
opened his eyes, moved his body, and shewed them (as 
he now safely might) that he was not quite dead. The 
murderers immediately made their escape; but most of them 
have been caught again, and they are after the rest. He 
was with great difficulty kept alive for a few days, and then 
expired, having however the satisfaction of finding himself 
as amply revenged in his lifetime as he would have been 
after his death. Thus you see to what affronts, indignities, 
and dangers we are exposed. Lenity and kind treatment 
are no safeguard; for it is malice and not reflection that 
arms such ruffians against their masters. So much for this 
piece of news. And what else? What else? Nothing else, 
or you should hear it, for I have still paper, and time too 
(as it is holiday time with me) to spare for more, and I 
can tell you one further circumstance relating to Macedo, 
which now occurs to me. As he was in a public bath once, 
at Rome, a remarkable, and (judging from the manner 
of his death) an ominous, accident happened to him. A 
slave of his, in order to make way for his master, laid his 
hand gently upon a Roman knight, who, turning suddenly 
round, struck, not the slave who had touched him, but 
Macedo, so violent a blow with his open palm that he 
almost knocked him down. Thus the bath by a kind of 


gradation proved fatal to him; being first the scene of an 
indignity he suffered, afterwards the scene of his death. 


To Nepos 

I HAVE constantly observed that amongst the deeds and 
sayings of illustrious persons of either sex, some have 
made more noise in the world, whilst others have been 
really greater, although less talked about; and I am con- 
firmed in this opinion by a conversation I had yesterday 
with Fannia. This lady is a grand-daughter to that cele- 
brated Arria, who animated her husband to meet death, 
by her own glorious example. She informed me. of several 
particulars relating to Arria, no less heroic than this 
applauded action of hers, though taken less notice of, and 
I think you will be as surprised to read the account of 
them as I was to hear it. Her husband Caecinna Faetus, 
and her son, were both attacked at the same time with a 
fatal illness, as was supposed ; of which the son died, a 
youth of remarkable beauty, and as modest as he was 
comely, endeared indeed to his parents no less by his many 
graces than from the fact of his being their son. His 
mother prepared his funeral and conducted the usual cere- 
monies so privately that Faetus did not know of his death. 
Whenever she came into his room, she pretended her son 
was alive and actually better: and as often as he enquired 
after his health, would answer, " He has had a good rest, 
and eaten his food with quite an appetite." Then when 
she found the tears, she had so long kept back, gushing forth 
in spite of herself, she would leave the room, and having 
given vent to her grief, return with dry eyes and a serene 
countenance, as though she had dismissed every feeling of 
bereavement at the door of her husband's chamber. I must 
confess it was a brave action^ in her to draw the steel, 

^ The following is the story, as related by several of the ancient his- 
torians. Paetus, having joined Scribonianus, who was in arms, in Illyria, 
against Claudius, was taken after the death of Scribonianus, and con- 
derrined to death. Arria having, in vain, solicited his life, persuaded him 
to destroy himself, rather than suffer the ignominy of falling by the exe- 

254 PLINY 

plunge it into her breast, pluck out the dagger, and present 
it to her husband with that ever memorable, I had almost 
said that divine, expression, " Paetus, it is not painful." 
But when she spoke and acted thus, she had the prospect of 
glory and immortality before her; how far greater, without 
the support of any such animating motives, to hide her tears, 
to conceal her grief, and cheerfully to act the mother, when 
a mother no more ! 

Scribonianus had taken up arms in Illyria against Clau- 
dius, where he lost his life, and Paetus, who was of his party, 
was brought a prisoner to Rome. When they were going 
to put him on board ship, Arria besought the soldiers that 
she might be permitted to attend him : " For surely," she 
urged, " you will allow a man of consular rank some ser- 
vants to dress him, attend to him at meals, and put his 
shoes on for him; but if you will take me, I alone will per- 
form all these offices." Her request was refused; upon 
which she hired a fishing-boat, and in that small vessel fol- 
lowed the ship. On her return to Rome, meeting the wife 
of Scribonianus in the emperor's palace, at the time when 
this woman voluntarily gave evidence against the conspir- 
ators — " What," she exclaimed, " shall I hear you even 
speak to me, you, on whose bosom your husband Scribon- 
ianus was murdered, and yet you survive him ? " — an ex- 
pression which plainly shews that the noble manner in 
which she put an end to her life was no unpremeditated 
effect of sudden passion. Moreover, when Thrasea, her 
son-in-law, was endeavouring to dissuade her from her 
purpose of destroying herself, and, amongst other argu- 
ments which he used, said to her, " Would you then advise 
your daughter to die with me if my life were to be taken 
from me ? " " Most certainly I would," she replied, " if 
she had lived as long, and in as much harmony with you, 
as I have with my Paetus." This answer greatly increased 
the alarm of her family, and made them watch her for the 
future more narrowly; which, when she perceived, "It is 
of no use," she said, " you may oblige me to effect my death 
in a more painful way, but it is impossible you should pre- 

cutioner's hands; and, in order to encourage him to an act, to which, it 
seems, he was not particularly inclined, she set him the example in the 
manner Pliny relates. M. 


vent it." Saying this, she sprang from her chair, and run- 
ning her head with the utmost violence against the wall, 
fell down, to all appearance, dead; but being brought to 
herself again, " I told you," she said, " if you would not 
suffer me to take an easy path to death, I should find a way 
to it, however hard." Now, is there not, my friend, some- 
thing much greater in all this than in the so-much-talked-of 
" Paetus, it is not painful," to which these led the way ? 
And yet this last is the favourite topic of fame, while all 
the former are passed over in silence. Whence I cannot 
but infer, what I observed at the beginning of my letter, 
that some actions are more celebrated, whilst others are 
really greater. 


To Severus 

I WAS obliged by my consular office to compliment the 
emperor* in the name of the republic; but after I had per- 
formed that ceremony in the senate in the usual manner, 
and as fully as the time and place would allow, I thought 
it agreeable to the affection of a good subject to enlarge 
those general heads, and expand them into a complete dis- 
course. My principal object in doing so was, to confirm the 
emperor in his virtues, by paying them that tribute of ap- 
plause which they so justly deserve; and at the same time 
to direct future princes, not in the formal way of lecture, 
but by his more engaging example, to those paths they must 
pursue if they would attain the same heights of glory. To 
instruct princes how to form their conduct, is a noble, but 
difficult task, and may, perhaps, be esteemed an act of 
presumption: but to applaud the character of an accom- 
plished prince, and to hold out to posterity, by this means, a 
beacon-light as it were, to guide succeeding monarchs, is a 
method equally useful, and much more modest. It afforded 
me a very singular pleasure that when I wished to recite 
this panegyric in a private assemby, my friends gave me 
their company, though I did not solicit them in the usual 
form of notes or circulars, but only desire^d their attendance, 

» Trajan. 

256 PLINY 

" should it be quite convenient to them," and " if they should 
happen to have no other engagement." You know the ex- 
cuses generally made at Rome to avoid invitations of this 
kind; how prior invitations are usually alleged; yet, in spite 
of the worst possible weather, they attended the recital for 
two days together; and when I thought it would be un- 
reasonable to detain them any longer, they insisted upon my 
going through with it the next day. Shall I consider this 
as an honour done to myself or to literature? Rather let 
me suppose to the latter, which, though well-nigh extinct, 
seems to be now again reviving amongst us. Yet what was 
the subject which raised this uncommon attention? No 
other than what formerly, even in the senate, where we 
had to submit to it, we used to grudge even a few moments' 
attention to. But now, you see, we have patience to recite 
and to attend to the same topic for three days together; and 
the reason of this is, not that we have more eloquent writing 
now than formerly, but we write under a fuller sense of 
individual freedom, and consequently more genially than 
we used to. It is an additional glory therefore to our 
present emperor that this sort of harangue, which was once 
as disgusting as it was false, is now as pleasing as it is 
sincere. But it was not only the earnest attention of my audi- 
ence which afforded me pleasure ; I was greatly delighted 
too with the justness of their taste: for I observed, that the 
more nervous parts of my discourse gave them peculiar 
satisfaction. It is true, indeed, this work, which was written 
for the perusal of the world in general, was read only to 
a few; however, I would willingly look upon their par- 
ticular judgment as an earnest of that of the public, and 
rejoice at their manly taste as if it were universally spread. 
It was just the same in eloquence as it was in music, the 
vitiated ears of the audience introduced a depraved style; 
but now, I am inclined to hope, as a more refined judgment 
prevails in the public, our compositions of both kinds will 
improve too; for those authors whose sole object is to please 
will fashion their works according to the popular taste. I 
trust, however, in subjects of this nature the florid style 
is most proper; and am so far from thinking that the vivid 
colouring I have used will be esteemed foreign and un- 


natural that I am most apprehensive that censure will fall 
upon those parts where the diction is most simple and un- 
ornate. Nevertheless, I sincerely wish the time may come, 
and that it now were, when the smooth and luscious, which 
has affected our style, shall give place, as it ought, to 
severe and chaste composition. — Thus have I given you an 
account of my doings of these last three days, that your 
absence might not entirely deprive you of a pleasure which, 
from your friendship to me, and the part you take in 
everything that concerns the interest of literature, I know 
you would have received, had you been there to hear. 


To Calvisius Rufus 

I MUST have recourse to you, as usual, in an affair which 
concerns my finances. An estate adjoining my land, and 
indeed running into it, is for sale. There are several con- 
siderations strongly inclining me to this purchase, while 
there are others no less weighty deterring me from it. Its 
first recommendation is, the beauty which will result from 
uniting this farm to my own lands; next, the advantage 
as well as pleasure of being able to visit it without additional 
trouble and expense; to have it superintended by the same 
steward, and almost by the same sub-agents, and to have one 
villa to support and embellish, the other just to keep in com- 
mon repair. I take into this account furniture, housekeepers, 
fancy-gardeners, artificers, and even hunting-apparatus, as 
it makes a very great difference whether you get these 
altogether into one place or scatter them about in several. 
On the other hand, I don't know whether it is prudent to 
expose so large a property to the same climate, and the 
same risks of accident happening; to distribute one's posses- 
sions about seems a safer way of meeting the caprice of 
fortune, besides, there is something extremely pleasant in 
the change of air and place, and the going about between 
one's properties. And now, to come to the chief considera- 
tion: — the lands are rich, fertile, and well-watered, con- 
sisting chiefly of meadow-ground, vineyard, and wood, while 

q— HC IX 

258 PLINY 

the supply of building timber and its returns, though mod- 
erate, still, keep at the same rate. But the soil, fertile as 
it is, has been much impoverished by not having been 
properly looked after. The person last in possession used 
frequently to seize and sell the stock, by which means, al- 
though he lessened his tenants' arrears for the time being, 
yet he left them nothing to go on with and the arrears ran 
up again in consequence. I shall be obliged, then, to pro- 
vide them with slaves, which I must buy, and at a higher 
than the usual price, as these will be good ones; for I keep 
no fettered slaves^ myself, and there are none upon the 
estate. For the rest, the price, you must know, is three 
millions of sesterces." It has formerly gone over five mil- 
lions,* but owing, partly to the general hardness of the 
times, and partly to its being thus stripped of tenants, the 
income of this estate is reduced, and consequently its 
value. You will be inclined perhaps to enquire whether I 
can easily raise the purchase-money? My estate, it is true, 
is almost entirely in land, though I have some money out 
at interest; but I shall find no difficulty in borrowing any 
sum I may want. I can get it from my wife's mother, whose 
purse I may use with the same freedom as my own; so 
that you need not trouble yourself at all upon that point, 
should you have no other objections, which I should like you 
very carefully to consider: for, as in everything else, so, 
particularly in matters of economy, no man has more judg- 
ment and experience than yourself. Farewell. 


To Cornelius Priscus 

I HAVE just heard of Valerius Martial's death, which 
gives me great concern. He was a man of an acute and 
lively genius, and his writings abound in equal wit, satire, 
and kindliness. On his leaving Rome I made him a present 
to defray his travelling expenses, which I gave him, not 
only as a testimony of friendship, but also in return for 

^ The Romans used to employ their criminals in the lower offices oi 
husbandry, such as ploughing, &c. Plin. H. N. 1. i8, 3. M. 
* About $100,000. 3 About $200,000. 


the verses with which he had complimented me. It was 
the custom of the ancients to distinguish those poets with 
honours or pecuniary rewards, who had celebrated par- 
ticular individuals or cities in their verses; but this good 
custom, along with every other fair and noble one, has 
grown out of fashion now; and in consequence of our 
having ceased to act laudably, we consider praise a folly 
and impertinence. You may perhaps be curious to see the 
verses which merited this acknowledgment from me, and I 
believe I can, from memory, partly satisfy your curiosity, 
without referring you to his works: but if you should be 
pleased with this specimen of them, you must turn to his 
poems for the rest. He addresses himself to his muse, 
whom he directs to go to my house upon the Esquiline,^ 
but to approach it with respect. 

"Go, wanton muse, but go with care, 
Nor meet, ill-tim'd, my Pliny's ear; 
He, by sage Minerva taught, 
Gives the day to studious thought. 
And plans that eloquence divine, 
Which shall to future ages shine, 
And rival, wondrous Tully ! thine. 
Then, cautious, watch the vacant hour, 
When Bacchus reigns in all his pow'r; 
When, crowned with rosy chaplets gay, 
Catos might read my frolic lay."* 

Do you not think that the poet who wrote of me in such 
terms deserved some friendly marks of my bounty then, and 
of my sorrow nowf For he gave me the very best he had 
to bestow, and would have given more had it been in his 
power. Though indeed what can a man have conferred on 
him more valuable than the honour of never-fading praise? 
But his poems will not long survive their author, at least 
I think not, though he wrote them in the expectation of 
their doing so. Farewell. 

1 One of the famous seven hills upon which Rome was situated. M. 
' Mart. Ix, 19. 

260 PLINY 


To Fabatus (his Wife's Grandfather) 

You have long desired a visit from your grand-daughter* 
accompanied by me. Nothing, be assured, could be more 
agreeable to either of us; for we equally wish to see you, 
and are determined to delay that pleasure no longer. For 
this purpose we are already packing up, and hastening to 
you with all the speed the roads will permit of. We shall 
make only one, short, stoppage, for we intend turning a 
little out of our way to go into Tuscany: not for the sake 
of looking upon our estate, and into our family concerns, 
which we can postpone to another opportunity, but to per- 
form an indispensable duty. There is a town near my estate, 
called Tifernum-upon-the-Tiber,^ which, with more afifection 
than wisdom, put itself under my patronage when I was yet a 
youth. These people celebrate my arrival among them, ex- 
press the greatest concern when I leave them, and have public 
rejoicings whenever they hear of my preferments. By way 
of requiting their kindnesses (for what generous mind can 
bear to be excelled in acts of friendship?) I have built a 
temple in this place, at my own expense, and as it is finished, 
it would be a sort of impiety to put off its dedication any 
longer. So we shall be there on the day on which that cere- 
mony is to be performed, and I have resolved to celebrate 
it with a general feast. We may possibly stay on there for 
all the next day, but shall make so much the greater haste 
in our journey afterwards. May we have the happiness to 
find you and your daughter in good health! In good spirits 
I am sure we shall, should we get to you all safely. Fare- 


To Attius Clemens 

Regulus has lost his son; the only undeserved misfor- 
tune which could have befallen him, in that I doubt 
whether he thinks it a misfortune. The boy had quick parts, 

* Calpurnia, Pliny's wife. * Now Citta di Castello. 


but there was no telling how he might turn out; however, 
he seemed capable enough of going right, were he not to 
grow up like his father. Regulus gave him his freedom/ 
in order to entitle him to the estate left him by his mother; 
and when he got into possession of it, (I speak of the cur- 
rent rumours, based upon the character of the man,) fawned 
upon the lad with a disgusting shew of fond affection which 
in a parent was utterly out of place. You may hardly think 
this credible; but then consider what Regulus is. However, 
he now expresses his concern for th^ loss of this youth in 
a most extravagant manner. The boy had a number of ponies 
for riding and driving, dogs both big and little, together with 
nightingales, parrots, and blackbirds in abundance. All these 
Regulus slew round the funeral pile. It was not grief, but 
an ostentatious parade of grief. He is visited upon this occa- 
sion by a surprising number of people, who all hate and detest 
the man, and yet are as assiduous in their attendance upon 
him as if they really esteemed and loved him, and, to give 
you my opinion in a word, in endeavouring to do Regulus a 
kindness, make themselves exactly like him. He keeps him- 
self in his park on the other side the Tiber, where he has 
covered a vast extent of ground with his porticoes, and 
crowded all the shore with his statues; for he unites pro- 
digality with excessive covetousness, and vain-glory with the 
height of infamy. At this very unhealthy time of year he is 
boring society, and he feels pleasure and consolation in Ijeing 
a bore. He says he wishes to marry, — a piece of perversity, 
like all his other conduct. You must expect, therefore, to 
hear shortly of the marriage of this mourner, the marriage 
of this old man; too early in the former case, in the latter, 
too late. You ask me why I conjecture this ? Certainly not 
because he says so himself (for a greater liar never stepped), 
but because there is no doubt that Regulus will do whatever 
ought not to be done. Farewell. 

^ The Romans had an absolute power over their children, of which no 
age or station of the latter deprived them. 

262 PLINY 


To Catius Lepidus 

I OFTEN tell you that there is a certain force of character 
about Regulus : it is wonderful how he carries through what 
he has set his mind to. He chose lately to be extremely 
concerned for the loss of his son : accordingly he mourned 
for him as never man mourned before. He took it into his 
head to have an immense number of statues and pictures 
of him; immediately all the artisans in Rome are set to 
work. Canvas, wax, brass, silver, gold, ivory, marble, all ex- 
hibit the figure of the young Regulus. Not long ago he read, 
before a numerous audience, a memoir of his son : a memoir 
of a mere boy ! However he read it. He wrote likewise a 
sort of circular letter to the several Decurii desiring them to 
choose out one of their order who had a strong clear voice, 
to read this eulogy to the people; it has been actually done. 
Now had this force of character or whatever else you may 
call a fixed determination in obtaining whatever one has a 
mind for, been rightly applied, what infinite good it might 
have effected ! The misfortune is, there is less of this 
quality about good people than about bad people, and as ig- 
norance begets rashness, and thoughtfulness produces delib- 
eration, so modesty is apt to cripple the action of virtue, 
whilst confidence strengthens vice. Regulus is a case in 
point: he has a weak voice, an awkward delivery, an indis- 
tinct utterance, a slow imagination, and no memory; in a 
word, he possesses nothing but a sort of frantic energy : and 
yet, by the assistance of a flighty turn and much impu- 
dence, he passes as an orator. Herennius Senecio admirably 
reversed Cato's definition of an orator, and applied it to 
Regulus : " An orator," he said, " is a bad man, unskilled in 
the art of speaking." And really Cato's definition is not a 
more exact description of a true orator than Senecio's is of 
the character of this man. Would you make me a suitable 
return for this letter? Let me know if you, or any of my 
friends in your town, have, like a stroller in the market- 
place, read this doleful production of Regulus's, "raising," as 
Demosthenes says, " your voice most merrily, and straining 


every muscle in your throat." For so absurd a performance 
must excite laughter rather than compassion; and indeed 
the composition is as puerile as the subject. Farewell. 


To Maturus Arrianus 

My advancement to the dignity of augur* is an honour 
that justly indeed merits your congratulations; not only 
because it is highly honourable to receive, even in the 
slightest instances, a testimony of the approbation of so 
vv^ise and discreet a prince,^ but because it is moreover an 
ancient and religious institution, which has this sacred and 
peculiar privilege annexed to it, that it is for life. Other 
sacerdotal offices, though they may, perhaps, be almost equal 
to this one in dignity, yet as they are given so they may be 
taken away again: but fortune has no further power over 
this than to bestow it. What recommends this dignity still 
more highly is, that I have the honour to succeed so illus- 
trious a person as Julius Frontinus, He for many years, 
upon the nomination-day of proper persons to be received 
into the sacred college, constantly proposed me, as though 
he had a view to electing me as his successor; and since it 
actually proved so in the event, I am willing to look upon 
it as something more than mere accident. But the circum- 
stance, it seems, that most pleases you in this affair, is, that 
Cicero enjoyed the same post; and you rejoice (you tell me) 
to find that I follow his steps as closely in the path of 
honours as I endeavour to do in that of eloquence. I wish, 
indeed, that as I had the advantage of being admitted earlier 
into the same order of priesthood, and into the consular 
office, than Cicero, that so I might, in my later years, catch 
some spark, at least, of his divine genius ! The former, 
indeed, being at man's disposal, may be conferred on me 

^ Their business was to interpret dreams, oracles, prodigies, &c., and to 
foretell whether any action should be fortunate or prejudicial, to particular 
persons, or to the whole commonwealth. Upon this account, they very 
often occasioned the displacing of magistrates, the deferring of public 
assemblies, &c. Kennet's Rom. Antiq. M. 

* Trajan. 

264 PLINY 

and on many others, but the latter it is as presumptuous to 
hope for as it is difficult to reach, being in the gift of heaven 
alone. Farewell. 


To Statius Sabinus 

Your letter informs me that Sabina, who appointed you 
and me her heirs, though she has nowhere expressly directed 
that Modestus shall have his freedom, yet has left him a 
legacy in the following words, "I give, &c. — To Modestus, 
whom I have ordered to have his freedom": upon which 
you desire my opinion. I have consulted skilful lawyers 
upon the point, and they all agree Modestus is not entitled 
to his liberty, since it is not expressly given, and conse- 
quently that the legacy is void, as being bequeathed to a 
slave.^ But it evidently appears to be a mistake in the testa- 
trix; and therefore I think we ought to act in this case as 
though Sabina had directed, in so many words, what, it is 
clear, she had ordered. I am persuaded you will go with 
me in this opinion, who so religiously regard the will of 
the deceased, which indeed where it can be discovered will 
always be law to honest heirs. Honour is to you and me 
as strong an obligation as the compulsion of law is to others. 
Let Modestus then enjoy his freedom and his legacy as 
fully as if Sabina had observed all the requisite forms, as 
indeed they effectually do who make a judicious choice of 
their heirs. Farewell, 


To Cornelius Minicianus 

Have you heard — I suppose, not yet, for the news has 
but just arrived — that Valerius Licinianus has become a pro- 
fessor in Sicily ? This unfortunate person, who lately enjoyed 
the dignity of praetor, and was esteemed the most eloquent 
of our advocates, is now fallen from a senator to an exile, 
from an orator to a teacher of rhetoric. Accordingly in his 

* A slave was incapable of property; and, therefore, whatever he acquired 
became the right of his master. M. 


inaugural speech he uttered, sorrowfully and solemnly, the 
following words : "Oh ! Fortune, how capriciously dost thou 
sport with mankind! Thou makest rhetoricians of senators, 
and senators of rhetoricians !" A sarcasm so poignant and 
full of gall that one might almost imagine he fixed upon 
this profession merely for the sake of an opportunity of 
applying it. And having made his first appearance in 
school, clad in the Greek cloak (for exiles have no right to 
wear the toga), after arranging himself and looking down 
upon his attire, "I am, however," he said, "going to declaim 
in Latin." You will think, perhaps, this situation, wretched 
and deplorable as it is, is what he well deserves for having 
stained the honourable profession of an orator with the 
crime of incest. It is true, indeed, he pleaded guilty to the 
charge; but whether from a consciousness of his guilt, or 
from an apprehension of worse consequences if he denied it, 
is not clear; for Domitian generally raged most furiously 
where his evidence failed him most hopelessly. That em- 
peror had determined that Cornelia, chief of the Vestal 
Virgins,* should be buried alive, from an extravagant notion 
that exemplary severities of this kind conferred lustre upon 
his reign. Accordingly, by virtue of his office as supreme 
pontiff, or, rather, in the exercise of a tyrant's cruelty, a 
despot's lawlessness, he convened the sacred college, not in 
the pontifical court where they usually assemble, but at his 
villa near Alba ; and there, with a guilt no less heinous than 
that which he professed to be punishing, he condemned 
her, when she was not present to defend herself, on the 
charge of incest, while he himself had been guilty, not only 
of debauching his own brother's daughter, but was also ac- 

' " Their office was to attend upon the rites of Vesta, the chief part of 
which was the preservation of the holy. fire. If this fire happened to go 
out. it was considered impiety to light it at any common flame, but they 
made use of the pure and unpolluted rays of the sun for. that purpose. 
There were various other duties besides connected with their office. Ihe 
chief rules prescribed them were, to vow the strictest chastity for the 
space of thirty years. After this term was completed, they had liberty to 
leave the order. If they broke their vow of virginity, they were buried 
alive in a place allotted to that peculiar use." Kennet s Antiq. ineir 
reputation for sanctity was so high that Livy mentions the fact ot two ot 
those virgins having violated their vows, as a prodigy that _ threatened 
destruction to the Roman state. Lib. xxii. c. 57- And Suetonius informs 
us that Augustus had so high an opinion of this religious order that he 
consigned the care of his will to the Vestal Virgins. Suet, in vit. Aug. 
c. loi. M. 

266 PLINY 

cessory to her death: for that lady, being a widow, in order 
to conceal her shame, endeavoured to procure an abortion, 
and by that means lost her life. However, the priests were 
directed to see the sentence immediately executed upon Cor- 
nelia. As they were leading her to the place of execution, 
she called upon Vesta, and the rest of the gods, to attest 
her innocence; and, amongst other exclamations, frequently 
cried out, "Is it possible that Caesar can think me polluted, 
under the influence of whose sacred functions he has con- 
quered and triumphed?"' Whether she said this in flattery 
or derision; whether it proceeded from a consciousness of 
her innocence, or contempt of the emperor, is uncertain; 
but she continued exclaiming in this manner, till she came 
to the place of execution, to which she was led, whether 
innocent or guilty I cannot say, at all events with every 
appearance and demonstration of innocence. As she was 
being lowered down into the subterranean vault, her robe 
happening to catch upon something in the descent, she 
turned round and disengaged it, when, the executioner offer- 
ing his assistance, she drew herself back with horror, re- 
fusing to be so much as touched by him, as though it were a 
defilement to her pure and unspotted chastity: still preserv- 
ing the appearance of sanctity up to the last moment; and, 
among all the other instances of her modesty, 

"She took great care to fall with decency."' 

Celer likewise, a Roman knight, who was accused of an 
intrigue with her, while they were scourging him with 
rods* in the Forum, persisted in exclaiming, "What have I 
done? — I have done nothing." These declarations of inno- 
cence had exasperated Domitian exceedingly, as imputing 
to him acts of cruelty and injustice, accordingly Licinianus 
being seized by the emperor's orders for having concealed 
a freedwoman of Cornelia's in one of his estates, was ad- 
vised, by those who took him in charge, to confess the 
fact, if he hoped to obtain a remission of his punishment, 

2 It was usual with Domitian to triumph, not only without a victory, 
but even after a defeat. M. 

^ Euripides' Hecuba. 

* The punishment inflicted upon the violators of Vestal chastity was to 
be scourged to death. M. 


and he complied with their advice. Herennius Senecio 
spoke for him in his absence, in some such words as Homer's 

"Patroclus lies in death." 

"Instead of advocate," said he, "I must turn informer; 
Licinianus has fled." This news was so agreeable to 
Domitian that he could not help betraying his satisfaction: 
"Then," he exclaimed, "has Licinianus acquitted us of injus- 
tice ;" adding that he would not press too hard upon him in 
his disgrace. He accordingly allowed him to carry off such 
of his effects as he could secure before they were seized 
for the public use, and in other respects softened the sen- 
tence of banishment by way of reward for his voluntary 
confession. Licinianus was afterwards, through the clem- 
ency of the emperor Nerva, permitted to settle in Sicily, 
where he now professes rhetoric, and avenges himself upon 
Fortune in his declamations. — You see how obedient I am 
to your commands, in sending you a circumstantial detail 
of foreign as well as domestic news. I imagined indeed, as 
you were absent when this transaction occurred, that you 
had only heard just in a general way that Licinianus was 
banished for incest, as fame usually makes her report in 
general terms, without going into particulars. I think I 
deserve in return a full account of all that is going on in 
your town and neighbourhood, where something worth 
telling about is usually happening; however, write what 
you please, provided you send me as long a letter as my 
own. I give you notice, I shall count not only the pages, 
but even the very lines and syllables. Farewell. 


To Valerius Paulinus 

Rejoice with me, my friend, not only upon my account, 
but your own. and that of the reptiblic as well ; for litera- 
ture is still held in honour. Being lately engaged to plead 
a cause before the Court of the Hundred, the crowd was so 
great that I could not get to my place without crossing the 
tribunal where the judges sat. And I have this pleasing 

268 PLINY 

circumstance to add further, that a young nobleman, having 
had his tunic torn, an ordinary occurrence in a crowd, stood 
with his gown thrown over him, to hear me, and that during 
the seven hours I was speaking, whilst my success more than 
counterbalanced the fatigue of so long a speech. So let 
us set to and not screen our own indolence under pretence 
of that of the public. Never, be very sure of that, will there 
be wanting hearers and readers, so long as we can only 
supply them with speakers and writers worth their attention. 


To AsiNius 

You advise me, nay you entreat me, to undertake, in her 
absence, the cause of Corellia, against C. Caecilius, consul 
elect. For your advice I am grateful, of your entreaty I 
really must complain ; without the first, indeed, I should have 
been ignorant of this affair, but the last was unnecessary, as 
I need no solicitations to comply, where it would be ungen- 
erous in me to refuse; for can I hesitate a moment to take 
upon myself the protection of a daughter of Corellius? It 
is true, indeed, though there is no particular intimacy be- 
tween her adversary and myself, still we are upon good 
enough terms. It is also true that he is a person of rank, 
and one who has a high claim upon my especial regard, as 
destined to enter upon an oflfice which I have had the honour 
to fill; and it is natural for a man to be desirous those 
dignities should be held in the highest esteem which he him- 
self once possessed. Yet all these considerations appear in- 
different and trifling when I reflect that it is the daughter of 
Corellius whom I am to defend. The memory of that excel- 
lent person, than whom this age has not produced a man of 
greater dignity, rectitude, and acuteness, is indelibly imprinted 
upon my mind. My regard for him sprang from my admira- 
tion of the man, and contrary to what is usually the case, 
my admiration increased upon a thorough knowledge of him, 
and indeed I did know him thoroughly, for he kept nothing 
back from me, whether gay or serious, sad or joyous. When he 


was but a youth, he esteemed, and (I will even venture to 
say) revered, me as if I had been his equal. When I solicited 
any post of honour, he supported me with his interest, and 
recommended me with his testimony; when I entered upon 
it, he was my introducer and my companion ; when I exer- 
cised it, he was my guide and my counsellor. In a word, 
whenever my interest was concerned, he exerted himself, in 
spite of his weakness and declining years, with as much 
alacrity as though he were still young and lusty. In private, 
in public, and at court, how often has he advanced and sup- 
ported my credit and interest ! It happened once that the 
conversation, in the presence of the emperor Nerva, turned 
upon the promising young men of that time, and several of 
the company present were pleased to mention me with ap- 
plause; he sat for a little while silent, which gave what he 
said the greater weight; and then, with that air of dignity, 
to which you are no stranger, "I must be reserved," said he, 
"in my praises of Pliny, because he does nothing without 
advice." By which single sentence he bestowed upon me 
more than my most extravagant wishes could aspire to, as 
he represented my conduct to be always such as wisdom must 
approve, since it was wholly under the direction of one of 
the wisest of men. Even in his last moments he said to his 
daughter (as she often mentions), "I have in the course of 
a long life raised up many friends to you, but there are none 
in whom you may more assuredly confide than Pliny and 
Cornutus." A circumstance I cannot reflect upon without 
being deeply sensible how incumbent it is upon me to en- 
deavour not to disappoint the confidence so excellent a judge 
of human nature reposed in me. I shall therefore most 
readily give my assistance to Corellia in this affair, and will- 
ingly risk any displeasure I may incur by appearing in her 
behalf. Though I should imagine, if in the course of my 
pleadings T should find an opportunity to explain and enforce 
more fully and at large than the limits of a letter allow of 
the reasons I have here mentioned, upon which I rest at once 
my apology and my glory; her adversary (whose suit may 
perhaps, as you say, be entirely without precedent, as it is 
against a woman) will not only excuse, but approve, my con- 
duct. Farewell. 

270 PLINY 



As you are a model of all virtue, and loved your late 
excellent brother, who had such a fondness for you, with 
an affection equal to his own; regarding too his daughter^ 
as your child, not only shewing her an aunt's tenderness 
but supplying the place of the parent she had lost; I know 
it will give you the greatest pleasure and joy to hear that 
she proves worthy of her father, her grandfather, and your- 
self. She possesses an excellent understanding together with 
a consummate prudence, and gives the strongest evidence of 
the purity of her heart by her fondness of her husband. Her 
affection for me, moreover, has given her a taste for books, 
and my productions, which she takes a pleasure in reading, 
and even in getting by heart, are continually in her hands. 
How full of tender anxiety is she when I am going to speak 
in any case, how rejoiced she feels when it is got through. 
While I am pleading, she stations persons to inform her 
from time to time how I am heard, what applauses I receive, 
and what success attends the case. When I recite my works 
at any time, she conceals herself behind some curtain, and 
drinks in my praises with greedy ears. She sings my verses 
too, adapting them to her lyre, with no other master but love, 
that best of instructors, for her guide. From these happy 
circumstances I derive my surest hopes, that the harmony 
between us will increase with our days, and be as lasting as 
our lives. For it is not my youth or person, which time 
gradually impairs; it is my honour and glory that she cares 
for. But what less could be expected from one who was 
trained by your hands, and formed by your instructions ; who 
was early familiarized under your roof with all that is pure 
and virtuous, and who learnt to love me first through your 
praises? And as you revered my mother with all the respect 
due even to a parent, so you kindly directed and encouraged 
my tender years, presaging from that early period all that 
my wife now fondly imagines I really am. Accept therefore 
of our mutual thanks, mine, for your giving me her, hers for 
^ Calpumia, Pliny's wife. 


your giving her me ; for you have chosen us out, as it were, 
for each other. Farewell. 



Look here ! The next time the court sits, you must, at 
all events, take your place there. In vain would your in- 
dolence repose itself under my protection, for there is no 
absenting oneself with impunity. Look at that severe, deter- 
mined, praetor, Licinius Nepos, who fined even a senator for 
the same neglect! The senator pleaded his cause in person, 
but in suppliant tone. The fine, it is true, was remitted, but 
sore was his dismay, humble his intercession, and he had to 
ask pardon. "All praetors are not so severe as that," you 
will reply; you are mistaken — for though indeed to be the 
author and reviver of an example of this kind may be an act 
of severity, yet, once introduced, even lenity herself may fol- 
low the precedent. Farewell. 


To Licinius Sura 

I HAVE brought you as a little present out of the country 
a query which well deserves the consideration of your ex- 
tensive knowledge. There is a spring which rises in a 
neighbouring mountain, and running among the rocks is 
received into a little banqueting-room, artificially formed 
for that purpose, from whence, after being detained a short 
time, it falls into the Larian lake. The nature of this spring 
is extremely curious; it ebbs and flows regularly three times 
a day. The increase and decrease is plainly visible, and 
exceedingly interesting to observe. You sit down by the 
side of the fountain, and while you are taking a repast and 
drinking its water, which is extremely cool, you see it 
gradually rise and fall. If you place a ring, or anything else 
at the bottom, when it is dry, the water creeps gradually 
up, first gently washing, finally covering it entirely, and then 

272 PLINY 

little by little subsides again. If you wait long enough, you 
may see it thus alternately advance and recede three suc- 
cessive times. Shall we say that some secret current of air 
stops and opens the fountain-head, first rushing in and check- 
ing the flow and then, driven back by the counter-resistance 
of the water, escaping again ; as we see in bottles, and other 
vessels of that nature, where, there not being a free and open 
passage, though you turn their necks perpendicularly or 
obliquely downwards, yet, the outward air obstructing the 
vent, they discharge their contents as it were by starts? Or, 
may not this small collection of water be successively con- 
tracted and enlarged upon the same principle as the ebb and 
flow of the sea? Or, again, as those rivers which discharge 
themselves into the sea, meeting with contrary winds and 
the swell of the ocean, are forced back in their channels, 
so, in the same way, may there not be something that checks 
this fountain, for a time, in its progress? Or is there rather 
a certain reservoir that contains these waters in the bowels 
of the earth, and while it is recruiting its discharges, the 
stream in consequence flows more slowly and in less quantity, 
but, when it has collected its due measure, runs on again in 
its usual strength and fulness? Or lastly, is there I know 
not what kind of subterranean counterpoise, that throws up 
the water when the fountain is dry, and keeps it back when 
it is full? You, who are so well qualified for the enquiry, 
will examine into the causes of this wonderful phenomenon ; 
it will be sufficient for me if I have given you an adequate 
description of it. Farewell. 


To Annius Severus 

A SMALL legacy was lately left me, yet one more accept- 
able than a far larger bequest would have been. How 
more acceptable than a far larger one? In this way. 
Pomponia Gratilla, having disinherited her son Assidius 
Curianus, appointed me of one of her heirs, and Sertorius 
Severus, of praetorian rank, together with several eminent 
Roman knights, co-heirs along with me. The son applied 


to me to give him my share of the inheritance, in order to 
use my name as an example to the rest of the joint-heirs, 
but offered at the same time to enter into a secret agree- 
ment to return me my proportion. I told him, it was by 
no means agreeable to my character to seem to act one way 
while in reality I was acting another, besides it was not 
quite honourable making presents to a man of his fortune, 
who had no children; in a word, this would not at 
all answer the purpose at which he was aiming, whereas, 
if I were to withdraw my claim, it might be of some 
service to him, and this I was ready and willing to do, 
if he could clearly prove to me that he was unjustly 

"Do then," he said, "be my arbitrator in this case." After 
a short pause I answered him, "I will, for I don't see why 
I should not have as good an opinion of my own impartial 
disinterestedness as you seem to have. But, mind, I am 
not to be prevailed upon to decide the point in question 
against your mother, if it should appear she had just 
reason for what she has done." "As you please," he replied, 
"which I am sure is always to act according to justice." I 
called in, as my assistants, Corellius and Frontinus, two of 
the very best lawyers Rome at that time afforded. With 
these in attendance, I heard the case in my own chamber. 
Curianus said everything which he thought would favour 
his pretensions, to whom (there being nobody but myself 
to defend the character of the deceased) I made a short 
reply; after which I retired with my friends to deliberate, 
and, being agreed upon our verdict, I said to him, "Curi- 
anus, it is our opinion that your conduct has justly drawn 
upon you your mother's displeasure." Some time afterwards, 
Curianus commenced a suit in the Court of the Hundred 
against all the co-heirs except myself. The day appointed 
for the trial approaching, the rest of the co-heirs were 
anxious to compromise the affair and have done with it, 
not out of any diffidence of their cause, but from a distrust 
of the times. They were apprehensive of what had hap- 
pened to many others, happening to them, and that from a 
civil suit it might end in a criminal one, as there were 
some among them to whom the friendship of Gratilla and 

274 PLINY 

Rusticus^ might be extremely prejudicial: they therefore 
desired me to go and talk with Curianus. We met in the 
temple of Concord; "Now supposing," I said, "your mother 
had left you the fourth part of her estate, or even suppose 
she had made you sole heir, but had exhausted so much of 
the estate in legacies that there would not be more than a 
fourth part remaining to you, could you justly complain? 
You ought to be content, therefore, if, being absolutely 
disinherited as you are, the heirs are willing to relinquish 
to you a fourth part, which however I will increase by 
contributing my proportion. You know you did not com- 
mence any suit against me, and two years have now elapsed, 
which gives me legal and indisputable possession. But to 
induce you to agree to the proposals on the part of the 
other co-heirs, and that you may be no sufferer by the 
peculiar respect you shew me, I offer to advance my pro- 
portion with them." The silent approval of my own con- 
science is not the only result out of this transaction; it 
has contributed also to the honour of my character. For 
it is this same Curianus who has left me the legacy I have 
mentioned in the beginning of my letter, and I received it as 
a very notable mark of his approbation of my conduct, if I 
do not flatter myself. I have written and told you all this, 
because in all my joys and sorrows I am wont to look 
upon you as myself, and I thought it would be unkind not 
to communicate to so tender a friend whatever occasions 
me a sensible gratification ; for I am not philosopher enough 
to be indifferent, when I think I have acted like an honour- 
able man, whether my actions meet with that approval which 
is in some sort their due. Farewell. 

To TiTius Aristo 

Among the many agreeable and obliging instances I have 
received of your friendship, your not concealing from me 

* Gratilla was the wife of Rusticus: Rusticus was put to death by 

Domitian, and Gratilla banished. It was sufficient crime in the reign of 

that execrable prince to be even a friend of those who were obnoxious to 
him. M. 


the long conversations which lately took place at your 
house concerning my verses, and the various judgments 
passed upon them (which served to prolong the talk,) iis 
by no means the least. There were some, it seems, who 
did not disapprove of my poems in themselves, but at the 
same time censured me in a free and friendly way, for 
employing myself in composing and reciting them. I am 
so far, however, from desiring to extenuate the charge that 
I willingly acknowledge myself still more deserving of it, 
and confess that I sometimes amuse myself with writing 
verses of the gayer sort. I compose comedies, divert my- 
self with pantomimes, read the lyric poets, and enter into 
the spirit of the most wanton muse, besides that, I indulge 
myself sometimes in laughter, mirth, and frolic, and, to sum 
up every kind of innocent relaxation in one word, / am a 
man. I am not in the least offended, though, at their low 
opinion of my morals, and that those who are ignorant of 
the fact that the most learned, the wisest, and the best of 
men have employed themselves in the same way, should be 
surprised at the tone of my writings: but from those who 
know what noble and numerous examples I follow, I shall, 
I am confident, easily obtain permission to err with those 
whom it is an honour to imitate, not only in their most 
serious occupations but their lightest triflings. Is it unbe- 
coming me (I will not name any living example, lest I 
should seem to flatter), but is it unbecoming me to practise 
what became Tully, Calvus, Pollio, Messala, Hortensius, 
Brutus, Sulla, Catulus, Scaevola, Sulpitius, Varro, the Tor- 
quati, Memmius, Gaetulicus, Seneca, Lucceius, and, within 
our own memory, Verginius Rufus? But if the examples 
of private men are not sufficient to justify me, I can cite 
Julius Caesar, Augustus, Nerva, and Tiberius Caesar. I for- 
bear to add Nero to the catalogue, though I am aware that 
what is practised by the worst of men does not therefore 
degenerate into wrong: on the contrary, it still maintains 
its credit, if frequently countenanced by the best. In that 
number, Virgil, Cornelius Nepos, and prior to these, Ennius 
and Attius, justly deserve the most distinguished place. 
These last indeed were not senators, but goodness knows no 
distinction of rank or title. I recite my works, it is true. 

276 PLINY 

and in this instance I am not sure I can support myself by 
their examples. They, perhaps, might be satisfied with their 
own judgment, but I have too humble an opinion of mine 
to suppose my compositions perfect, because they appear so 
to my own mind. My reason then for reciting are, that, 
for one thing, there is a certain deference for one's au- 
dience, which excites a somewhat more vigorous applica- 
tion, and then again, I have by this means an opportunity of 
settling any doubts I may have concerning my performance, 
by observing the general opinion of the audience. In a 
word, I have the advantage of receiving different hints 
from different persons : and although they should not declare 
their meaning in express terms, yet the expression of the 
countenance, the movement of the head, the eyes, the motion 
of a hand, a whisper, or even silence itself will easily dis- 
tinguish their real opinion from the language of politeness. 
And so if any one of my audience should have the curiosity 
to read over the same performance which he heard me read, 
he may find several things altered or omitted, and perhaps 
too upon his particular judgment, though he did not say a 
single word to me. But I am not defending my conduct in 
this particular, as if I had actually recited my works in 
pubHc, and not in my own house before my friends, a num- 
erous appearance of whom has upon many occasions been 
held an honour, but never, surely, a reproach. Farewell. 


To Nonius Maximus 

I AM deeply afflicted with the news I have received of the 
death of Fannius; in the first place, because I loved one so 
eloquent and refined, in the next, because I was accustomed 
to be guided by his judgment — and indeed he possessed 
great natural acuteness, improved by practice, rendering him 
able to see a thing in an instant. There are some circum- 
stances about his death, which aggravate my concern. He 
left behind him a will which had been made a considerable 
time before his decease, by which it happens that his 
estate is fallen into the hands of those who had incurred 


his displeasure, whilst his greatest favourites are excluded. 
But what I particularly regret is, that he has left unfinished 
a very noble work in which he was employed. Notwith- 
standing his full practice at the bar, he had begun a history 
of those persons who were put to death or banished by 
Nero, and completed three books of it. They are written 
with great elegance and precision, the style is pure, and 
preserves a proper medium between the plain narrative and 
the historical: and as they were very favourably received 
by the public, he was the more desirous of being able to 
finish the rest. The hand of death is ever, in my opinion, 
too untimely and sudden when it falls upon such as are 
employed in some immortal work. The sons of sensuality, 
who have no outlook beyond the present hour, put an end 
every day to all motives for living, but those who look for- 
ward to posterity, and endeavour to transmit their names 
with honour to future generations by their works — to such, 
death is always immature, as it still snatches them from 
amidst some unfinished design. Fannius, long before his 
death, had a presentiment of what has happened : he dreamed 
one night that as he was lying on his couch, in an undress, 
all ready for his work, and with his desk,^ as usual, in front 
of him, Nero entered, and placing himself by his side, took 
up the three first books of this history, which he read through 
and then departed. This dream greatly alarmed him, and 
he regarded it as an intimation, that he should not carry 
on his history any farther than Nero had read, and so the 
event has proved. I cannot reflect upon this accident with- 
out lamenting that he was prevented from accomplishing a 
work which had cost him so many toilsome vigils, as it 
suggests to me, at the same time, reflections on my own 
mortality, and the fate of my wrtiings: and I am persuaded 
the same apprehensions alarm you for those in which you are 
at present employed. Let us then, my friend, while life 
permits, exert all our endeavours, that death, whenever it 
arrives, may find as little as possible to destroy. Farewell. 

- In the original, scrinium, a box for holding MSS. 

278 PLIN\ 


To DoMiTius Apollinaris 

The kind concern you expressed on hearing of my design 
to pass the summer at my villa in Tuscany, and your oblig- 
ing endeavours to dissuade me from going to a place which 
you think unhealthy, are extremely pleasing to me. It is 
quite true indeed that the air of that part of Tuscany which 
lies towards the coast is thick and unwholesome : but m.y 
house stands at a good distance from the sea, under one of 
the Apennines which are singularly healthy. But, to re- 
lieve you from all anxiety on my account, I will give you 
a description of the temperature of the climate, the situation 
of the country, and the beauty of my villa, which, I am 
persuaded, you will hear with as much pleasure as I shall 
take in giving it. The air in winter is sharp and frosty, so 
that myrtles, olives, and trees of that kind which delight in 
constant warmth, will not flourish here: but the laurel 
thrives, and is remarkably beautiful, though now and then 
the cold kills it — though not oftener than it does in the 
neighbourhood of Rome. The summers are extraordinarily 
mild, and there is always a refreshing breeze, seldom high 
winds. This accounts for the number of old men we have 
about, you would see grandfathers and great-grandfathers of 
those now grown up to be young men, hear old stories and 
the dialect of our ancestors, and fancy yourself born in some 
former age were you to come here. The character of the 
country is exceedingly beautiful. Picture to yourself an 
immense amphitheatre, such as nature only could create. 
Before you lies a broad, extended plain bounded by a range 
of mountains, whose summits are covered with tall and 
ancient woods, which are stocked with all kinds of game. 
The descending slopes of the mountains are planted with 
underwood, among which are a number of little risings with 
a rich soil, on which hardly a stone is to be found. In fruit- 
fulness they are quite equal to a valley, and though their 
harvest is rather later, their crops are just as good. At the 
foot of these, on the mountain-side, the eye, wherever it 
turns, runs along one unbroken stretch of vineyards ter- 


minated by a belt of shrubs. Next you have meadows and 
the open plain. The arable land is so stiff that it is neces- 
sary to go over it nine times with the biggest oxen and the 
strongest ploughs. The meadows are bright with flowers, 
and produce trefoil and other kinds of herbage as fine and 
tender as if it were but just sprung up, for all the soil is 
refreshed by never failing streams. But though there is 
plenty of water, there are no marshes; for the ground be- 
ing on a slope, whatever water it receives without absorbing 
runs off into the Tiber. This river, which winds through 
the middle of the meadows, is navigable only in the winter 
and spring, at which seasons it transports the produce of 
the lands to Rome: but in summer it sinks below its banks, 
leaving the name of a great river to an almost empty channel : 
towards the autumn, however, it begins again to renew its 
claim to that title. You would be charmed by taking a view 
of this country from the top of one of our neighbouring 
mountains, and would fancy that not a real, but some im- 
aginary landscape, painted by the most exquisite pencil, 
lay before you, such an harmonious variety of beautiful ob- 
jects meets the eye, whichever way it turns. My house, 
although at the foot of a hill, commands as good a view 
as if it stood on its brow, yet you approach by so gentle and 
gradual a rise that you find yourself on high ground without 
perceiving you have been making an ascent. Behind, but 
at a great distance, is the Apennine range. In the calmest 
days we get cool breezes from that quarter, not sharp and 
cutting at all, being spent and broken by the long distance 
they have travelled. The greater part of the house has a 
southern aspect, and seems to invite the afternoon sun in 
summer (but rather earlier in the winter) into a broad 
and proportionately long portico, consisting of several rooms, 
particularly a court of antique fashion. In front of the 
portico is a sort of terrace, edged with box and shrubs 
cut into different shapes. You descend, from the terrace, 
by an easy slope adorned with the figures of animals in box, 
facing each other, to a lawn overspread with the soft, I 
had almost said the liquid, Acanthus : this is surrounded by 
a walk enclosed with evergreens, sh.aped into a variety of 
forms. Beyond it is the gestatio, laid out in the form of a 

280 PLINY 

circus running round the multiform box-hedge and the 
dwarf-trees, which are cut quite close. The whole is fenced 
in with a wall completely covered by box cut into steps 
all the way up to the top. On the outside of the wall lies 
a meadow that owes as many beauties to nature as all I 
have been describing zvithin does to art ; at the end of which 
are open plain and numerous other meadows and copses. 
From the extremity of the portico a large dining-room runs 
out, opening upon one end of the terrace, while from the 
windows there is a very extensive view over the meadows 
up into the country, and from these you also see the terrace 
and the projecting wing of the house together with the woods 
enclosing the adjacent hippodrome. Almost opposite the 
centre of the portico, and rather to the back, stands a sum- 
mer-house, enclosing a small area shaded by four plane-trees, 
in the midst of which rises a marble fountain which gently 
plays upon the roots of the plane-trees and upon the grass- 
plots underneath them. This summer-house has a bed-room in 
it free from every sort of noise, and which the light itself can- 
not penetrate, together with a common dining-room I use 
when I have none but intimate friends with me. A second 
portico looks upon this little area, and has the same view as 
the other I have just been describing. There is, besides, 
another room, which, being situate close to the nearest 
plane-tree, enjoys a constant shade and green. Its sides are 
encrusted with carved marble up to the ceiling, while above 
the marble a foliage is painted with birds among the branches, 
which has an effect altogether as agreeable as that of the 
carving, at the foot of which a little fountain, playing 
through several small pipes into a vase it encloses, produces 
a most pleasing murmur. From a corner of the portico 
you enter a very large bed-chamber opposite the large dining- 
room, which from some of its windows has a view of the 
terrace, and from others, of the meadow, as those in the front 
look upon a cascade, which entertains at once both the 
eye and the ear; for the water, dashing from a great height, 
foams over the marble basin which receives it below. 
This room is extremely warm in winter, lying much ex- 
posed to the sun, and on a cloudy day the heat of an ad- 
joining stove very well supplies his absence. Leaving this 


room, you pass through a good-sized, pleasant, undressing- 
room into the cold-bath-room, in which is a large gloomy 
bath: but if you are inclined to swim more at large, or in 
warmer water, in the middle of the area stands a wide basin 
for that purpose, and near it a reservoir from which you may 
be supplied with cold water to brace yourself again, if you 
should find you are too much relaxed by the warm. Adjoin- 
ing the cold bath is one of a medium degree of heat, which 
enjoys the kindly warmth of the sun, but not so intensely 
as the hot bath, which projects farther. This last consists of 
three several compartments, each of different degrees of 
heat; the two former lie open to the full sun, the latter, 
though not much exposed to its heat, receives an equal 
share of its light. Over the undressing-room is built the 
tennis-court, which admits of different kinds of games 
and different sets of players. Not far from the baths is the 
staircase leading to the enclosed portico, three rooms inter- 
vening. One of these looks out upon the little area with 
the four plane-trees round it, the other upon the meadows, 
and from the third you have a view of several vineyards, so 
that each has a different one, and looks towards a different 
point of the heavens. At the upper end of the enclosed 
portico, and indeed taken off from it, is a room that looks 
out upon the hippodrome, the vineyards, and the mountains; 
adjoining is a room which has a full exposure to the sun, 
especially in winter, and out of which runs another con- 
necting the hippodrome with the house. This forms the 
front. On the side rises an enclosed portico, which not 
only looks out upon the vineyards, but seems almost to 
touch them. From the middle of this portico you enter a 
dining-room cooled by the wholesome breezes from the 
Apennine valleys: from the windows behind, which are ex- 
tremely large, there is a close view of the vineyards, and 
from the folding doors through the summer portico. Along 
that side of the dining-room where there are no windows 
runs a private staircase for greater convenience in serving 
up when I give an entertainment; at the farther end is a 
sleeping-room with a look-out upon the vineyards, and (what 
is equally agreeable) the portico. Underneath this room is 
an enclosed portico resembling a grotto, which, enjoying in 

282 PLINY 

the midst of summer heats its own natural coolness, neither 
admits nor wants external air. After you have passed both 
these porticoes, at the end of the dining-room stands a 
third, which according as the day is more or less advanced, 
serves either for winter or summer use. It leads to two 
different apartments, one containing four chambers, the 
other, three, which enjoy by turns both sun and shade. This 
arrangement of the different parts of my house is exceed- 
ingly pleasant, though it is not to be compared with the 
beauty of the hippodrome,^ lying entirely open in the middle 
of the grounds, so that the eye, upon your first entrance, 
takes it in entire in one view. It is set round with plane- 
trees covered with ivy, so that, while their tops flourish with 
their own green, towards the roots their verdure is borrowed 
from the ivy that twines round the trunk and branches, 
spreads from tree to tree, and connects them together. Be- 
tween each plane-tree are planted box-trees, and behind 
these stands a grove of laurels which blend their shade with 
that of the planes. This straight boundary to the hippo- 
drome alters its shape at the farther end, bending into a 
semicircle, which is planted round, shut in with cypresses, 
and casts a deeper and gloomier shade, while the inner cir- 
cular walks (for there are several), enjoying an open 
exposure, are filled with plenty of roses, and correct, by a 
very pleasant contrast, the coolness of the shade with the 
warmth of the sun. Having passed through these several 
winding alleys, you enter a straight walk, which breaks out 
into a variety of others, partitioned off by box-row hedges. 
In one place you have a little meadow, in another the box is 
cut in a thousand different forms, sometimes into letters, 
.expressing the master's name, sometimes the artificer's, 
whilst here and there rise little obelisks with fruit-trees alter- 
nately intermixed, and then on a sudden, in the midst of 
this elegant regularity, you are surprised with an imitation 
of the negligent beauties of rural nature. In the centre of 
this lies a spot adorned with a knot of dwarf plane-trees. 

''■ The hippodromus, in its proper signification, was a place, among the 
Grecians, set apart for horse-racing and other exercises of that kind. But 
it seems here to be nothing more than a particular walk, to which Pliny 
perhaps gave that name, from its bearing some resemblance in its form to 
the public places so called. M. 


Beyond these stands an acacia, smooth and bending in 
places, then again various other shapes and names. At the 
upper end is an alcove of white marble, shaded with vines 
and supported by four small Carystian columns. From this 
semicircular couch, the water, gushing up through several 
little pipes, as though pressed out by the weight of the 
persons who recline themselves upon it, falls into a stone 
cistern underneath, from whence it is received into a fine 
polished marble basin, so skilfully contrived that it is al- 
ways full without ever overflowing. When I sup here, 
this basin serves as a table, the larger sort of dishes being 
placed round the margin, while the smaller ones swim about 
in the form of vessels and water-fowl. Opposite this is a 
fountain which is incessantly emptying and filling, for the 
water which it throws up to a great height, falling back again 
into it, is by means of consecutive apertures returned as fast 
as it is received. Facing the alcove (and reflecting upon 
it as great an ornament as it borrows from it) stands a 
summer-house of exquisite marble, the doors of which pro- 
ject and open into a green enclosure, while from its upper 
and lower windows the eye falls upon a variety of different 
greens. Next to this is a little private closet (which, 
though it seems distinct, may form part of the same room), 
furnished with a couch, and notwithstanding it has windows 
on every side, yet it enjoys a very agreeable gloom, by 
means of a spreading vine which climbs to the top, and 
entirely overshadows it. Here you may lie and fancy your- 
self in a woodj with this only difference, that you are not 
exposed to the weather as you would be there. Here too 
a fountain rises and instantly disappears — several marble 
seats are set in different places, which are as pleasant as the 
summer-house itself after one is tired out with walking. 
Near each is a little fountain, and throughout the whole 
hippodrome several small rills run murmuring along through 
pipes, wherever the hand of art has thought proper to con- 
duct them, watering here and there different plots of green, 
and sometimes all parts at once. I should have ended before 
now, for fear of being too chatty, had I not proposed in this 
letter to lead you into every corner of my house and gardens. 
Nor did I apprehend your thinking it a trouble to read the 

284 PLINY 

description of a place which I feel sure would please you 
were you to see it; especially as you can stop just when 
you please, and by throwing aside my letter, sit down as it 
were, and give yourself a rest as often as you think proper. 
Besides, I gave my little passion indulgence, for I have 
a passion for what I have built, or finished, myself. In a 
word, (for why should I conceal from my friend either my 
deliberate opinion or my prejudice?) I look upon it as the 
first duty of every writer to frequently glance over his 
title-page and consider well the subject he has proposed to 
himself; and he may be sure, if he dwells on his subject, he 
cannot justly be thought tedious, whereas if, on the contrary, 
he introduces and drags in anything irrelevant, he will be 
thought exceedingly so. Homer, you know, has employed 
many verses in the description of the arms of Achilles, as 
Virgil has also in those of Aeneas, yet neither of them 
is prolix, because they each keep within the limits of their 
original design. Aratus, you observe, is not considered too 
circumstantial, though he traces and enumerates the minutest 
stars, for he does not go out of his way for that purpose, but 
only follows where his subject leads him. In the same way 
(to compare small things with great), so long as, in endeav- 
ouring to give you an idea of my house, I have not intro- 
duced anything irrelevant or superfluous, it is not my letter 
which describes, but my villa which is described, that is to 
be considered large. But to return to where I began, lest I 
should justly be condemned by my own law, if I continue 
longer in this digression, you see now the reasons why I 
prefer my Tuscan villa to those which I possess at Tus- 
culum, Tiber, and Praeneste.^ Besides the advantages al- 
ready mentioned, I enjoy here a cozier, more profound and 
undisturbed retirement than anywhere else, as I am at a 
greater distance from the business of the town and the in- 
terruption of troublesome clients. All is calm and com- 
posed; which circumstances contribute no less than its clear 
air and unclouded sky to that health of body and mind I 
particularly enjoy in this place, both of which I keep 
in full swing by study and hunting. And indeed there is no 

2 Now called Frascati, Tivoli, and Palestrina, all of them situated in 
the Campagna di Roma, and at no great distance from Rome. M. 


place which agrees better with my family, at least I am 
sure I have not yet lost one (may the expression be allowed f) 
of all those I brought here with me. And may the gods 
continue that happiness to me, and that honour to my villa. 


To Calvisius 

It is certain the law does not allow a corporate city to 
inherit any estate by will, or to receive a legacy. Saturninus, 
however, who has appointed me his heir, had left a fourth 
part of his estate to our corporation of Comum ; afterwards, 
instead of a fourth part, he bequeathed four hundred thou- 
sand sesterces.^ This bequest, in the eye of the law, is null 
and void, but, considered as the clear and express will of the 
deceased, ought to stand firm and valid. Myself, I consider 
the will of the dead (though I am afraid what I say will 
not please the lawyers) of higher authority than the law, 
especially when the interest of one's native country is 
concerned. Ought I, who made them a present of eleven 
hundred thousand sesterces* out of my own patrimony, to 
withhold a benefaction of little more than a third part of 
that sum out of an estate which has come quite by a chance 
into my hands? You, who like a true patriot have the same 
affection for this our common country, will agree with me 
in opinion, I feel sure. I wish therefore you would, at the 
next meeting of the Decurii, acquaint them, just briefly and 
respectfully, as to how the law stands in this case, and 
then add that I offer them four hundred thousand sesterces 
according to the direction in Saturninus' will. You will 
represent this donation as his present and his liberality; I 
only claim the merit of complying with his request. I did 
not trouble to write to their senate about this, fully relying 
as I do upon our intimate friendship and your wise dis- 
cretion, and being quite satisfied that you are both able and 
willing to act for me upon this occasion as I would for my- 
self; besides, I was afraid I should not seem to have so 

* " This is said in allusion to the idea of Nemesis supposed to threaten 
excessive prosperity." (Church and Brodribb.) 
"■About $15,000. * About $42,000. 


cautiously guarded my expressions in a letter as you will be 
able to do in a speech. The countenance, the gesture, and 
even the tone of voice govern and determine the sense of the 
speaker, urhereas a letter, being without these advantages, is 
more liable to malignant misinterpretation. Farewell. 


To Marcellinus 

I WRITE this to you in the deepest sorrow: the youngest 
daughter of my friend Fundanus is dead! I have never 
seen a more cheerful and more lovable girl, or one who 
better deserved to have enjoyed a long, I had almost said 
an immortal, life ! She was scarcely fourteen, and yet there 
was in her a wisdom far beyond her years, a matronly 
gravity united with girlish sweetness and virgin bashful- 
ness. With what an endearing fondness did she hang on 
her father's neck! How affectionately and modestly she 
used to greet us his friends ! With what a tender and 
deferential regard she used to treat her nurses, tutors, 
teachers, each in their respective offices ! What an eager, 
industrious, intelligent, reader she was ! She took few 
amusements, and those with caution. How self-controlled, 
how patient, how brave, she was, under her last illness! 
She complied with all the directions of her physicians; she 
spoke cheerful, comforting words to her sister and her 
father; and when all her bodily strength was exhausted, 
the vigour of her mind sustained her. That indeed con- 
tinued even to her last moments, unbroken by the pain of 
a long illness, or the terrors of approaching death; and it 
is a reflection which makes us miss her, and grieve that 
she has gone from us^ the more. O melancholy, untimely, 
loss, too truly ! She was engaged to an excellent young 
man; the wedding-day was fixed, and we were all invited. 
How our joy has been turned into sorrow! I cannot ex- 
press in words the inward pain I felt when I heard Fundanus 
himself (as grief is ever finding out fresh circumstances 
to aggravate its affliction) ordering the money he had in- 
tended laying out upon clothes, pearls, and jewels for her 


marriage, to be employed in frankincense, ointments, and 
perfumes for her funeral. He is a man of great learning 
and good sense, who has applied himself from his earliest 
youth to the deeper studies and the fine arts, but all the 
maxims of fortitude which he has received from books, or 
advanced himself, he now absolutely rejects, and every 
other virtue of his heart gives place to all a parent's tender- 
ness. You will excuse, you will even approve, his grief, 
when you consider what he has lost. He has lost a daughter 
who resembled him in his manners, as well as his person, 
and exactly copied out all her father. So, if you should 
think proper- to write to him upon the subject of so reason- 
able a grief, let me remind you not to use the rougher argu- 
ments of consolation, and such as seem to carry a sort of 
reproof with them, but those of kind and sympathizing 
humanity. Time will render him more open to the dictates 
of reason : for as a fresh wound shrinks back from the hand 
of the surgeon, but by degrees submits to, and even seeks of 
its own accord the means of its cure, so a mind under the 
first impression of a misfortune shuns and rejects all con- 
solations, but at length desires and is lulled by their gentle 
application. Farewell. 


To Spurinna 

Knowing, as I do, how much you admire the polite arts, 
and what satisfaction you take in seeing young men of 
quality pursue the steps of their ancestors, I seize this 
earliest opportunity of informing you that I went to-day 
to hear Calpurnius Piso read a beautiful and scholarly pro- 
duction of his, entiled the Sports of Love. His numbers, 
which were elegiac, were tender, sweet, and flowing, at the 
same time that they occasionally rose to all the sublimity 
of diction which the nature of his subject required. He 
varied his style from the lofty to the simple, from the 
close to the copious, from the grave to the florid, with equal 
genius and judgment. These beauties were further recom- 
mended by a most harmonious voice ; which a very becoming 
modesty rendered still more pleasing. A confusion and 

288 PLINY 

concern in the countenance of a speaker imparts a grace 
to all he utters; for diffidence, I know not how, is infinitely 
more engaging than assurance and self-sufficiency. I might 
mention several other circumstances to his advantage, which 
I am the more inclined to point out, as they are exceedingly 
striking in one of his age, and are most uncommon in a 
youth of his quality: but not to enter into a farther detail 
of his merit, I will only add that, when he had finished his 
poem, I embraced him very heartily, and being persuaded 
that nothing is a greater encouragement than applause, I 
exhorted him to go on as he had begun, and to shine out to 
posterity with the same glorious lustre, which was reflected 
upon him from his ancestors. I congratulated his excellent 
mother, and particularly his brother, who gained as much 
honour by the generous affection he manifested upon this 
occasion as Calpurnius did by his eloquence; so remarkable 
a solicitude he showed for him when he began to recite his 
poem, and so much pleasure in his success. May the gods 
grant me frequent occasions of giving you accounts of this 
nature ! for I have a partiality to the age in which I live, 
and should rejoice to find it not barren of merit. I ardently 
wish, therefore, our young men of quality would have some- 
thing else to show of honourable memorial in their houses 
than the images* of their ancestors. As for those which are 
placed in the mansion of these excellent youths, I now figure 
them to myself as silently applauding and encouraging 
their pursuits, and (what is a sufficient degree of honour 
to both brothers) as recognizing their kindred. Farewell. 


To Paulinus 

As I know the humanity with which you treat your own 
servants, I have less reserve in confessing to you the 

^ None had the right of using family pictures or statues but those whose 
ancestors or themselves had borne some of the highest dignities. So that 
the jus imaginis was much the same thing among the Romans as the right 
of bearing a coat of arms among us. Ken. Antiq. M. 


indulgence I shew to mine. I have ever in my mind that 
line of Homer's — 

"Who swayed his people with a father's love" : 

and this expression of ours, " father of a family." But were 
I harsher and harder than I really am by nature, the ill state 
of health of my freedman Zosimus (who has the stronger 
claim upon my tenderness, in that he now stands in more 
especial need of it) would be sufficient to soften me. He 
is a good, honest fellow, attentive in his services, and well- 
read; but his chief talent, and indeed his distinguishing 
qualification, is that of a comedian, in which he highly 
excels. His pronunciation is distinct, correct in emphasis, 
pure, and graceful: he has a very skilled touch, too, upon 
the lyre, and performs with better execution than is neces- 
sary for one of his profession. To this I must add, he reads 
history, oratory, and poetry, as well as if these had been 
the sole objects of his study. I am the more particular in 
enumerating his qualifications, to let you see how many 
agreeable services I receive from this one servant alone. 
He is indeed endeared to me by the ties of a long affection, 
which are strengthened by the danger he is now in. For 
nature has so formed our hearts that nothing contributes 
more to incite and kindle affection than the fear of losing 
the object of it: a fear which I have suffered more than 
once on his account. Some years ago he strained himself 
so much by too strong an exertion of his voice, that he 
spit blood, upon which account I sent him into Egypt ;^ from 
whence, after a long absence, he lately returned with great 
benefit to his health. But having again exerted himself for 
several days together beyond his strength, he was reminded 
of his former malady by a slight return of his cough, and 
a spitting of blood. For this reason I intend to send him to 
your farm at Forum-Julii," having frequently heard you 
mention it as a healthy air, and recommend the milk of that 
place as very salutary in disorders of his nature. I beg you 
would give directions to your people to receive him into 

''■ The Roman physicians used to send their patients in consumptive cases 
into E^pt, particularly to Alexandria. M. 

* Frejus, in Provence, the southern part of France. M. 

10 — HC IX 

290 PLINY 

your house, and to supply him with whatever he may have 

occasion for: which will not be much, for he is so sparing 
and abstemious as not only to abstain from delicacies, but 
even to deny himself the necessaries his ill state of health 
requires. I shall furnish him towards his journey with 
what will be sufficient for one of his moderate requirements, 
who is coming under your roof. Farewell. 


To RuFUs 

I WENT into the Julian* court to hear those lawyers to 
whom, according to the last adjournment, I was to reply. 
The judges had taken their seats, the decemviri* were 
arrived, the eyes of the audience were fixed upon the 
counsel, and all was hushed silence and expectation, when 
a messenger arrived from the praetor, and the Hundred 
are at once dismissed, and the case postponed: an accident 
extremely agreeable to me, who am never so well prepared 
but that I am glad of gaining further time. The occasion 
of the court's rising thus abruptly was a short edict of 
Nepos, the praetor for criminal causes, in which he directed 
all persons concerned as plaintiffs or defendants in any 
cause before him to take notice that he designed strictly 
to put in force the decree of the senate annexed to his edict. 
Which decree was expressed in the following words: all 

TAKING THEIR CAUSE. In thcsc terms, and many others 
equally full and express, the lawyers were prohibited to 
make their professions venal. However, after the case is 

» A court of justice erected by Julius Caesar in the forum, and opposite 
to the basilica Aemilia. . , .. j • v*, ,»;«., nf 

«The decemviri seem to have been magistrates for the administration oi 
Justice, subordinate to the praetors, who (to give the English reader a gen- 
eral notion of their office) may be termed lords chief justices, as the judges 
here mentioned were something in the nature of our juries. M. 


decided, they are permitted to accept a gratuity of ten 
thousand sesterces.' The praetor for civil causes, being 
alarmed at this order of Nepos, gave us this unexpected 
holiday in order to take time to consider whether he should 
follow the example. Meanwhile the whole town is talking, 
and either approving or condemning this edict of Nepos. 
We have got then at last (say the latter with a sneer) a 
redressor of abuses. But pray was there never a praetor 
before this man? Who is he then who sets up in this way 
for a public reformer? Others, on the contrary, say, "He has 
done perfectly right upon his entry into office; he has paid 
obedience to the laws; considered the decrees of the senate, 
repressed most indecent contracts, and will not suffer the 
most honourable of all professions to be debased into a 
sordid lucre traffic." This is what one hears all around 
one; but which side may prevail, the event will shew. It 
is the usual method of the world (though a very unequitable 
rule of estimation) to pronounce an action either right or 
wrong, according as it is attended with good or ill success; 
in consequence of which you may hear the very same con- 
duct attributed to zeal or folly, to liberty or licentiousness, 
upon different several occasions. Farewell. 


To Arrianus 

Sometimes I miss Regulus in our courts. I cannot say I 
deplore his loss. The man, it must be owned, highly re- 
spected his profession, grew pale with study and anxiety 
over it, and used to write out his speeches though he could 
not get them by heart. There was a practice he had of 
painting round his right or left eye,^ and wearing a white 
patch^ over one side or the other of his forehead, according 

• About $400. 

^ This silly piece of superstition seems to have been peculiar to Regulus, 
and not of any general practice; at least it is a custom of which we find no 
other mention in antiquity. M. 

^ " We gather from Martial that the wearing of these was not an un- 
usual practice with fops and dandies. See Epig. ii. 29, in which he ridi- 
cules a certain Rufus, and hints that if you were to strip off the ' splenia ' " 
(plasters) " from his face, you would find out that he was a branded run- 
away slave." (Church and Brodribb.) 

292 PLINY 

as he was to plead either for the plaintiff or defendant; of 
consulting the soothsayers upon the issue of an action; 
still, all this excessive superstition was really due to his ex- 
treme earnestness in his profession. And it was acceptable 
enough being concerned in the same cause with him, as he 
always obtained full indulgence in point of time, and never 
failed to get an audience together; for what could be more 
convenient than, under the protection of a liberty which you 
did not ask yourself, and all the odium of the arrangement 
resting with another, and before an audience which you had 
not the trouble of collecting, to speak on at your ease, and 
as long as you thought proper? Nevertheless Regulus did 
well in departing this life, though he would have done much 
better had he made his exit sooner. He might really have 
lived now without any danger to the public, in the reign of 
a prince under whom he would have had no opportunity of 
doing any harm. I need not scruple therefore, I think, to 
say I sometimes miss him: for since his death the custom 
has prevailed of not allowing, nor indeed of asking more 
than an hour or two to plead in, and sometimes not above 
half that time. The truth is, our advocates take more 
pleasure in finishing a cause than in defending it; and our 
judges had rather rise from the bench than sit upon it: such 
is their indolence, and such their indifference to the honour 
of eloquence and the interest of justice ! But are we wiser 
than our ancestors? are we more equitable than the laws 
which grant so many hours and days of adjournments to a 
case? were our forefathers slow of apprehension, and dull 
beyond measure? and are we clearer of speech, quicker in 
our conceptions, or more scrupulous in our decisions, be- 
cause we get over our causes in fewer hours than they 
took days ? O Regulus ! it was by zeal in your profession 
that you secured an advantage which is but rarely given 
to the highest integrity. As for myself, whenever I sit 
upon the bench (which is much oftener than I appear at 
the bar), I always give the advocates as much time as they 
require: for I look upon it as highly presuming to pre- 
tend to guess, before a case is heard, what time it will re- 
quire, and to set limits to an affair before one is acquainted 
with its extent; especially as the first and most sacred duty 


of a judge is patience, which constitutes an important part 
of justice. But this, it is objected, would give an opening 
to much superfluous matter: I grant it may; yet is it not 
better to hear too much than not to hear enough? Besides, 
how shall you know that what an advocate has farther to 
offer will be superfluous, until you have heard him? But 
this, and many other public abuses, will be best reserved for 
a conversation when we meet; for I know your affection to 
the commonwealth inclines you to wish that some means 
might be found out to check at least those grievances, which 
would now be very difficult absolutely to remove. But to 
return to affairs of private concern: I hope all goes well in 
your family; mine remains in its usual situation. The good 
which I enjoy grows more acceptable to me by its con- 
tinuance; as habit renders me less sensible of the evils I 
suffer. Farewell. 


To Calpurnia* 

Never was business more disagreeable to me than when 
it prevented me not only from accompanyinng you when 
you went into Campania for your health, but from following 
you there soon after ; for I want particularly to be with you 
now, that I may learn from my own eyes whether you are 
growing stronger and stouter, and whether the tranquillity, 
the amusements, and plenty of that charming country really 
agree with you. Were you in perfect health, yet I could 
ill support your absence; for even a moment's uncertainty 
of the welfare of those we tenderly love causes a feeling of 
suspense and anxiety : but now your sickness conspires with 
your absence to trouble me grievously with vague and 
various anxieties. I dread everything, fancy everything, 
and, as is natural to those who fear, conjure up the very 
things I most dread. Let me the more earnestly entreat 
you then to think of my anxiety, and write to me every day, 
and even twice a day: I shall be more easy, at least while 
I am reading your letters, though when I have read them, 
I shall immediately feel my fears again. Farewell. 

"^ His wife. 

294 PLINY 


To Calpurnia 

You kindly tell me my absence very sensibly affects you, 
and that your only consolation is in conversing with my 
works, which you frequently substitute in my stead. I am 
glad that you miss me ; I am glad that you find some rest in 
these alleviations. In return, I read over your letters again 
and again, and am continually taking them up, as if I had just 
received them ; but, alas ! this only stirs in me a keener long- 
ing for you; for how sweet must her conversation be whose 
letters have so many charms? Let me receive them, how- 
ever, as often as possible, notwithstanding there is still a 
mixture of pain in the pleasure they afford me. Farewell. 


To Priscus 

You know Attilius Crescens, and you love him; who is 
there, indeed, of any rank or worth, that does not? For 
myself, I profess to have a friendship for him far exceeding 
ordinary attachments of the world. Our native towns are 
separated only by a day's journey; and we got to care for 
each other when we were very young; the season for pas- 
sionate friendships. Ours improved by years; and so far 
from being chilled, it was confirmed by our riper judgments, 
as those who know us best can witness. He takes pleasure 
in boasting everywhere of my friendship; as I do to let the 
world know that his reputation, his ease, and his interest are 
my peculiar concern. Insomuch that upon his expressing to 
me some apprehension of insolent treatment from a certain 
person who was entering upon the tribuneship of the people, 
I could not forbear answering, 

"Long as Achilles breathes this vital air, 
To touch thy head no impious hand shall dare."* 

What is my object in telling you these things? Why, to 
shew you that I look upon every injury offered to Attilius 

1 Horn. II. lib. i. v. 88. 


as done to myself. "But what is the object of all this?'' you 
repeat. You must know then, Valerius Varus, at his death, 
owed Attilius a sum of money. Though I am on friendly 
terms with Maximus, his heir, yet there is a closer friend- 
ship between him and you. I beg therefore, and entreat you 
by the affection you have for me, to take care that Attilius 
is not only paid the capital which is due to him, but all the 
long arrears of interest too. He neither covets the property 
of others nor neglects the care of his own ; and as he is 
not engaged in any lucrative profession, he has nothing to 
depend upon but his own frugality : for as to literature, in 
which he greatly distinguishes himself, he pursues this 
merely from motives of pleasure and ambition. In such 
a situation, the slightest loss presses hard upon a man, 
and the more so because he has no opportunities of repairing 
any injury done to his fortune. Remove then, I entreat you, 
our uneasiness, and suffer me still to enjoy the pleasure of 
his wit and bonhommie ; for I cannot bear to see the cheer- 
fulness of my friend over-clouded, whose mirth and good 
humour dissipates every gloom of melancholy in myself. In 
short, you know what a pleasant entertaining fellow he is, 
and I hope you will not suffer any injury to engloom and 
embitter his disposition. You may judge by the warmth 
of his affection how severe his resentments would prove ; for 
a generous and great mind can ill brook an injury when 
coupled with contempt. But though he could pass it over, 
yet cannot I : on the contrary, I shall regard it as a wrong 
and indignity done to myself, and resent it as one offered 
to my friend; that is, with double warmth. But, after all, 
why this air of threatening? rather let me end in the same 
style in which I began, namely, by begging, entreating you 
so to act in this affair that neither Attilius may have reason 
to imagine (which I am exceedingly anxious he should not) 
that I neglect his interest, nor that I may have occasion to 
charge you with carelessness of mine: as undoubtedly I 
shall not if you have the same regard for the latter as I 
have for the former. Farewell. 

296 PLINY 


To Albinus 

I WAS lately at Alsium,^ where my mother-in-law has ^ 
villa which once belonged to Verginius Rufus. The place 
renewed in my mind the sorrowful remembrance of that 
great and excellent man. He was extremely fond of this 
retirement, and used to call it the nest of his old age. Which- 
ever way I looked, I missed him, I felt his absence. I had 
an inclination to visit his monument; but I repented having 
seen it, afterwards: for I found it still unfinished, and this, 
not from any difficulty residing in the work itself, for it is 
very plain, or rather indeed slight; but through the neglect 
of him to whose care it was entrusted. I could not see 
without a concern, mixed with indignation, the remains of 
a man, whose fame filled the whole world, lie for ten years 
after his death without an inscription, or a name. He had 
however directed that the divine and immortal action of his 
life should be recorded upon his tomb in the following lines : 

"Here Rufus lies, who Vindex' arms withstood, 
Not for himself, but for his country's good." 

But faithful friends are so rare, and the dead so soon for- 
gotten, that we shall be obliged ourselves to build even our 
very tombs, and anticipate the office of our heirs. For who 
is there that has no reason to fear for himself what we see 
has happened to Verginius, whose eminence and distinction, 
while rendering such treatment more shameful, so, in the 
same way, make it more notorious? Farewell. 


To Maximus 

O WHAT a happy day I lately spent ! I was called by the 
prefect of Rome, to assist him in a certain case, and had 
the pleasure of hearing two excellent young men, Fuscus 
Salinator and Numidius Quadratus, plead on the opposite 

1 Now Alzia, not far from Como. 


sides: their worth is equal, and each of them will one day, 
I am persuaded, prove an ornament not only to the present 
age, but to literature itself. They evinced upon this occa- 
sion an admirable probity, supported by inflexible courage: 
their dress was decent, their elocution distinct, their tones 
were manly, their memory retentive, their genius elevated, 
and guided by an equal solidity of judgment. I took infinite 
pleasure in observing them display these noble qualities; 
particularly as I had the satisfaction to see that, while they 
looked upon me as their guide and model, they appeared to 
the audience as my imitators and rivals. It was a day (I 
cannot but repeat it again) which afforded me the most ex- 
quisite happiness, and which I shall ever distinguish with 
the fairest mark. For what indeed could be either more 
pleasing to me on the public account than to observe two 
such noble youths building their fame and glory upon the 
polite arts ; or more desirable upon my own than to be marked 
out as a worthy example to them in their pursuits of virtue? 
May the gods still grant me the continuance of that pleas- 
ure ! And I implore the same gods, you are my witness, to 
make all these who think me deserving of imitation far better 
than I am. Farewell. 



You were not present at a very singular occurrence here 
lately: neither was I, but the story reached me just after 
it had happened. Passienus Paulus, a Roman knight, of good 
family, and a man of peculiar learning and culture besides, 
composes elegies, a talent which runs in the family, for 
Propertius is reckoned by him amongst his ancestors, as 
well as being his countryman. He was lately reciting a 
poem which began thus: 

"Priscus, at thy command" — ■ 

Whereupon Javolenus Priscus, who happened to be present 
as a particular friend of the poet's, cried out — " But he is 
mistaken, I did not command him." Think what laughter 

298 PLINY 

and merriment this occasioned. Priscus's wits, you must 
know, are reckoned rather unsound/ though he takes a share 
in public business, is summoned to consultations, and even 
publicly acts as a lawyer, so that this behaviour of his was 
the more remarkable and ridiculous : meanwhile Paulus was 
a good deal disconcerted by his friend's absurdity. You 
see how necessary it is for those who are anxious to recite 
their works in public to take care that the audience as well 
as the author are perfectly sane. Farewell. 


To Tacitus 

Your request that T would send you an account of my 
uncle's death, in order to transmit a more exact relation of 
it to posterity, deserves my acknowledgments; for, if this 
accident shall be celebrated by your pen, the glory of it, 
I am well assured, will be rendered forever illustrious. 
And notwithstanding he perished by a misfortune, which, 
as it involved at the same time a most beautiful country in 
ruins, and destroyed so many populous cities, seems to 
promise him an everlasting remembrance; notwithstanding 
he has himself composed many and lasting works; yet I 
am persuaded, the mentioning of him in your immortal 
writings, will greatly contribute to render his name im- 
mortal. Happy I esteem those to be to whom by provision 
of the gods has been granted the ability either to do such 
actions as are worthy of being related or to relate them in 
a manner worthy of being read; but peculiarly happy are 
they who are blessed with both these uncommon talents: 
in the number of which my uncle, as his own writings and 
your history will evidently prove, may justly be ranked. It 
is with extreme willingness, therefore, that I execute your 
commands; and should indeed have claimed the task if you 
had not enjoined it. He was at that time with the fleet 
under his command at Misenum.^ On the 24th of August, 
about one in the afternoon, my mother desired him to ob- 

1 Nevertheless, Javolenus Priscus was one of the most eminent lawyers 
of his time, and is frequently quoted in the Digesta of Justinian. 
3 In the Bay of Naples. 


serve a cloud which appeared of a very unusual size and 
shape. He had just taken a turn in the sun,^ and, after 
bathing himself in cold water, and making a light luncheon, 
gone back to his books: he immediately arose and went out 
upon a rising ground from whence he might get a better 
sight of this very uncommon appearance. A cloud, from 
which mountain was uncertain, at this distance (but it was 
found afterwards to come from Mount Vesuvius), was 
ascending, the appearance of which I cannot give you a more 
exact description of than by likening it to that of a pine tree, 
for it shot up to a great height in the form of a very tall 
trunk, which spread itself out at the top into a sort of 
branches; occasioned, I imagine, either by a sudden gust 
of air that impelled it, the force of which decreased as it 
advanced upwards, or the cloud itself being pressed back 
again by its own weight, expanded in the manner I have 
mentioned; it appeared sometimes bright and sometimes dark 
and spotted, according as it was either more or less im- 
pregnated with earth and cinders. This phenomenon 
seemed to a man of such learning and research as my uncle 
extraordinary and worth further looking into. He ordered 
a light vessel to be got ready, and gave me leave, if I liked, 
to accompany him. I said I had rather go on with my 
work; and it so happened, he had himself given me some- 
thing to write out. As he was coming out of the house, he 
received a note from Rectina, the wife of Bassus, who was 
in the utmost alarm at the imminent danger which threat- 
ened her ; for her villa lying at the foot of Mount Vesuvius, 
there was no way of escape but by sea; she earnestly en- 
treated him therefore to come to her assistance. He ac- 
cordingly changed his first intention, and what he had begun 
from a philosophical, he now carries out in a noble and 
generous spirit. He ordered the galleys to be put to sea, 
and went himself on board with an intention of assisting 

2 The Romans used to lie or walk naked in the sun, after anointing their 
bodies with oil, which was esteemed as greatly contributing to health, and 
therefore daily practised by them. This custom, however, of anointing 
themselves, is inveighed against by the satirists as in the number of their 
luxurious indulgences: but since we find the elder Pliny here, and the 
amiable Spurinna in a former letter, practising this method, we can not 
suppose the thing itself was esteemed unmanly, but only when it was at- 
tended with some particular circumstances of an over-refined delicacy. M. 

300 PLINY 

not only Rectina, but the several other towns which lay 
thickly strewn along that beautiful coast. Hastening then 
to the place from whence others fled with the utmost terror, 
he steered his course direct to the point of danger, and with 
so much calmness and presence of mind as to be able to 
make and dictate his observations upon the motion and all 
the phenomena of that dreadful scene. He was now so 
close to the mountain that the cinders, which grew thicker 
and hotter the nearer he approached, fell into the ships, 
together with pumice-stones, and black pieces of burning 
rock: they were in danger too not only of being a-ground 
by the sudden retreat of the sea, but also from the vast 
fragments which rolled down from the mountain, and 
obstructed all the shore. Here he stopped to consider 
whether he should turn back again; to which the pilot ad- 
vising him, " Fortune," said he, " favours the brave ; steer 
to where Pomponianus is." Pomponianus was then at Sta- 
biae,' separated by a bay, which the sea, after several in- 
sensible windings, forms with the shore. He had already 
sent his baggage on board; for though he was not at that 
time in actual danger, yet being within sight of it, and in- 
deed extremely near, if it should in the least increase, he 
was determined to put to sea as soon as the wind, which 
was blowing dead in-shore, should go down. It was favour- 
able, however, for carrying my uncle to Pomponianus, whom 
he found in the greatest consternation : he embraced him 
tenderly, encouraging and urging him to keep up his spirits, 
and, the more effectually to soothe his fears by seeming 
unconcerned himself, ordered a bath to be got ready, and 
then, after having bathed, sat down to supper with great 
cheerfulness, or at least (what is just as heroic) with every 
appearance of it. Meanwhile broad flames shone out in 
several places from Mount Vesuvius, which the darkness of 
the night contributed to render still brighter and clearer. 
But my uncle, in order to soothe the apprehensions of his 
friend, assured him it was only the burning of the villages, 
which the country people had abandoned to the flames: after 
this he retired to rest, and it is most certain he was so 
little disquieted as to fall into a sound sleep : for his breath- 

8 Now called Castelamare, in the Bay of Naples. M. 


ing, which, on account of his corpulence, was rather heavy 
and sonorous, was heard by the attendants outside. The 
court which led to his apartment being now almost filled 
with stones and ashes, if he had continued there any time 
longer, it would have been impossible for him to have made 
his way out. So he was awoke and got up, and went to 
Pomponianus and the rest of his company, who were feeling 
too anxious to think of going to bed. They consulted to- 
gether whether it would be most prudent to trust to the 
houses, which now rocked from side to side with frequent 
and violent concussions as though shaken from their very 
foundations; or fly to the open fields, where the calcined 
stones and cinders, though light indeed, yet fell in large 
showers, and threatened destruction. In this choice of dan- 
gers they resolved for the fields: a resolution which, while 
the rest of the company were hurried into by their fears, my 
uncle embraced upon cool and deliberate consideration. 
They went out then, having pillows tied upon their heads 
with napkins; and this was their whole defence against the 
storm of stones that fell round them. It was now day every- 
where else, but there a deeper darkness prevailed than in 
the thickest night; which however was in some degree alle- 
viated by torches and other lights of various kinds. They 
thought proper to go farther down upon the shore to see 
if they might safely put out to sea, but found the waves still 
running extremely high, and boisterous. There my uncle, 
laying himself down upon a sail cloth, which was spread 
for him, called twice for some cold water, which he drank, 
when immediately the flames, preceded by a strong whiff of 
sulphur, dispersed the rest of the party, and obliged him 
to rise. He raised himself up with the assistance of two 
of his servants, and instantly fell down dead; suffocated, 
as I conjecture, by some gross and noxious vapour, having 
always had a weak throat, which was often inflamed. As 
soon as it was light again, which was not till the third day 
after this melancholy accident, his body was found entire, 
and without any marks of violence upon it, in the dress in 
which he fell, and looking more like a man asleep than dead. 
During all this time my mother and I, who were at Mise- 
num — but this has no connection ^with your history, and you 

302 PLINY 

did not desire any particulars besides those of my uncle's 
death; so I will end here, only adding that I have faithfully 
related to you what I was either an eye-witness of myself 
or received immediately after the accident happened, and 
before there was time to vary the truth. You will pick 
out of this narrative whatever is most important: for a let- 
ter is one thing, a history another; it is one thing writing 
to a friend, another thing writing to the public. Farewell. 


To Cornelius Tacitus 

The letter which, in compliance with your request, I 
wrote to you concerning the death of my uncle has raised, 
it seems, your curiosity to know what terrors and dangers 
attended me while I continued at Misenum; for there, I 
think, my account broke off: 

"Though my shock'd soul recoils, my tongue shall tell." 

My uncle having left us, I spent such time as was left on 
my studies (it was on their account indeed that I had 
stopped behind), till it was time for my bath. After which 
I went to supper, and then fell into a short and uneasy 
sleep. There had been noticed for many days before a 
trembling of the earth, which did not alarm us much, as this 
is quite an ordinary occurrence in Campania; but it was so 
particularly violent that night that it not only shook but 
actually overturned, as it would seem, everything about us. 
My mother rushed into my chamber, where she found me 
rising, in order to awaken her. We sat down in the open 
court of the house, which occupied a small space between the 
buildings and the sea. As 1 was at that time but eighteen 
years of age, I know not whether I should call my be- 
haviour, in this dangerous juncture, courage or folly; but I 
took up Livy, and amused myself with turning over that au- 
thor, and even making extracts from him, as if I had been per- 
fectly at my leisure. Just then, a friend of my uncle's, who 
had lately come to him from Spain, joined us, and observing 


me sitting by my mother with a book in my hand, reproved 
her for her calmness, and me at the same time for my 
careless security: nevertheless I went on with my author. 
Though it was now morning, the light was still exceedingly 
faint and doubtful; the buildings all around us tottered, and 
though we stood upon open ground, yet as the place was 
narrow and confined, there was no remaining without im- 
minent danger: we therefore resolved to quit the town. A 
panic-stricken crowd followed us, and (as to a mind dis- 
tracted with terror every suggestion seems more prudent 
than its own) pressed on us in dense array to drive us 
forward as we came out. Being at a convenient distance 
from the houses, we stood still, in the midst of a most dan- 
gerous and dreadful scene. The chariots, which we had 
ordered to be drawn out, were so agitated backwards and 
forwards, though upon the most level ground, that we could 
not keep them steady, even by supporting them with large 
stones. The sea seemed to roll back upon itself, and to be 
driven from its banks by the convulsive motion of the 
earth; it is certain at least the shore was considerably en- 
larged, and several sea animals were left upon it. On the 
other side, a black and dreadful cloud, broken with rapid, 
zigzag flashes, revealed behind it variously shaped masses 
of flame: these last were like sheet-lightning, but much 
larger. Upon this our Spanish friend, whom I mentioned 
above, addressing himself to my mother and me with great 
energy and urgency : " If your brother," he said, " if your 
uncle be safe, he certainly wishes you may be so too; but if 
he perished, it was his desire, no doubt, that you might both 
survive him: why therefore do you delay your escape a 
moment ? " We could never think of our own safety, we 
said, while we were uncertain of his. Upon this our friend 
left us, and withdrew from the danger with the utmost pre- 
cipitation. Soon afterwards, the cloud began to descend, 
and cover the sea. It had already surrounded and concealed 
the island of Capreae and the promontory of Misenum. My 
mother now besought, urged, even commanded me to make 
my escape at any rate, which, as I was young, I might easily 
do ; as for herself, she said, her age and corpulency rendered 
all attempts of that sort impossible; however, she would 

304 PLINY 

willingly meet death if she could have the satisfaction of 
seeing that she was not the occasion of mine. But I abso- 
lutely refused to leave her, and, taking her by the hand, 
compelled her to go with me. She complied with great re- 
luctance, and not without many reproaches to herself for 
retarding my flight. /The ashes now began to fall upon us, 
though in no great qtiantity. I looked back; a dense dark 
mist seemed to be following us, spreading itself over the 
country like a cloud. " Let us turn out of the high-road," 
I said, " while we can still see, for fear that, should we 
fall in the road, we should be pressed to death in the dark, 
by the crowds that are following us." We had scarcely sat 
down when night came upon us, not such as we have when 
the sky is cloudy, or when there is no moon, but that of a 
room when it is shut up, and all the lights put out. You 
might hear the shrieks of women, the screams of children, 
and the shouts of men; some calling for their children, 
others for their parents, others for their husbands, and seek- 
ing to recognise each other by the voices that replied; one 
lamenting his own fate, another that of his family; some 
wishing to die, from the very fear of dying; some lifting 
their hands to the gods; but the greater part convinced that 
there were now no gods at all, and that the final endless 
night of which we have heard had come upon the world.* 
Among these there were some who augmented the real 
terrors by others imaginary or wilfully invented. I re- 
member some who declared that one part of Misenum had 
fallen, that another was on fire; it was false, but they found 
people to believe them. It now grew rather Hghter, which 
we imagined to be rather the forerunner of an approaching 
burst of flames (as in truth it was) than the return of 
day : however, the fire fell at a distance from us : then again 
we were immersed in thick darkness, and a heavy shower 
of ashes rained upon us, which we were obliged every now 
and then to stand up to shake off, otherwise we should have 
been crushed and buried in the heap. I might boast that, 
during all this scene of horror, not a sigh, or expression of 

iThe Stoic and Epicurean philosophers held that the world was to be 
destroyed by fire, and all things fall again into original chaos; not except- 
ing even the national gods themselves from the destruction of this general 
conflagration. M. 


fear, escaped me, had not my support been grounded in 
that miserable, though mighty, consolation, that all mankind 
were involved in the same calamity, and that I was per- 
ishing with the world itself. At last this dreadful darkness 
was dissipated by degrees, like a cloud or smoke; the real 
day returned, and even the sun shone out, though with a 
lurid light, like when an eclipse is coming on. Every object 
that presented itself to our eyes (which were extremely 
weakened) seemed changed, being covered deep with ashes 
as if with snow. We returned to Misenum, where we re- 
freshed ourselves as well as we could, and passed an anxious 
night between hope and fear; though, indeed, with a much 
larger share of the latter: for the earthquake still con- 
tinued, while many frenzied persons ran up and down 
heightening their own and their friends' calamities by ter- 
rible predictions. However, my mother and I, notwith- 
standing the danger we had passed, and that which still 
threatened us, had no thoughts of leaving the place, till we 
could receive some news of my uncle. 

And now, you will read this narrative without any view 
of inserting it in your history, of which it is not in the 
least worthy; and indeed you must put it down to your 
own request if it should appear not worth even the trouble 
of a letter. Farewell. 


To Macer 

How much does the fame of human actions depend upon 
the station of those who perform them ! The very same 
conduct shall be either applauded to the skies or entirely 
overlooked, just as it may happen to proceed from a person 
of conspicuous or obscure rank. I was sailing lately upon 
our lake,^ with an old man of my acquaintance, who desired 
me to observe a villa situated upon its banks, which had a 
chamber overhanging the water. " From that room," said 
he, " a woman of our city threw herself and her husband." 
Upon enquiring into the cause, he informed me, " That her 
husband having been long afflicted with an ulcer in those 

''■ The lake Larius. 

306 PLINY 

parts which modesty conceals, she prevailed with him at 
last to let her inspect the sore, assuring him at the same 
time that she would most sincerely give her opinion whether 
there was a possibility of its being cured. Accordingly, 
upon viewing the ulcer, she found the case hopeless, and 
therefore advised him to put an end to his life: she herself 
accompanying him, even leading the way by her example, 
and being actually the means of his death ; for tying herself 
to her husband, she plunged with him into the lake." 
Though this happened in the very city where I was born, 
I never heard it mentioned before; and yet that this action 
is taken less notice of than that famous one of Arria's, is 
not because it was less remarkable, but because the person 
who performed it was more obscure. Farewell. 


To Servianus 

I AM extremely glad to hear that you intend your daughter 
for Fuscus Salinator, and congratulate you upon it. His 
family is patrician,^ and both his father and mother are 
persons of the most distinguished merit. As for himself, 
he is studious, learned, and eloquent, and, with all the inno- 
cence of a child, unites the sprightliness of youth and the 
wisdom of age. I am not, believe me, deceived by my af- 
fection, when I give him this character; for though I love 
him, I confess, beyond measure (as his friendship and 
esteem for me well deserve), yet partiality has no share in 
my judgment : on the contrary, the stronger my affection 
for him, the more exactingly I weigh his merit. I will 
venture, then, to assure you (and I speak it upon my own 
experience) you could not have, formed to your wishes, a 
more accomplished son-in-law. May he soon present you 
with a grandson, who shall be the exact copy of his father! 
and with what pleasure shall I receive from the arms of 
two such friends their children or grand-children, whom I 
shall claim a sort of right to embrace as my own ! Farewell. 

^ Those families were styled patrician whose ancestors had been members 
of the senate in the earliest times of the regal or consular government. M, 



To Severus 

You desire me to consider what turn you should give to 
your speech in honour of the emperor/ upon your being 
appointed consul elect/ It is easy to find copies, not so 
easy to choose out of them; for his virtues afford such 
abundant material. However, I will write and give you 
my opinion, or (what I should prefer) I will let you have 
it in person, after having laid before you the difficulties 
which occur to me. I am doubtful, then, whether I should 
advise you to pursue the method which I observed myself 
on the same occasion. When I was consul elect, I avoided 
running into the usual strain of compliment, which, how- 
ever far from adulation, might yet look like it. Not that 
I affected firmness and independence; but, as well knowing 
the sentiments of our amiable prince, and being thoroughly 
persuaded that the highest praise I could offer to him would 
be to show the world I was under no necessity of paying 
him any. When I reflected what profusion of honours had 
been heaped upon the very worst of his predecessors, noth- 
ing, I imagined, could more distinguish a prince of his real 
virtues from those infamous emperors than to address him 
in a different manner. And this I thought proper to ob- 
serve in my speech, lest it might be suspected I passed over 
his glorious acts, not out of judgment, but inattention. 
Such was the method I then observed; but I am sensible 
the same measures are neither agreeable nor indeed suitable 
to all alike. Besides the propriety of doing or omitting a 
thing depends not only upon persons, but time and cir- 
cumstances; and as the late actions of our illustrious prince 
afford materials for panegyric, no less just than recent and 
glorious, I doubt (as I said before) whether I should per- 
suade you in the present instance to adopt the same plan 

1 Trajan. ... 

2 The consuls, though they were chosen in August, did not enter upon 
their ofRce till the first of January, during which interval they were styled 
consules designati, consuls elect. It was usual for them upon that occasion 
to compliment the emperor, by whose appointment, after the dissolution of 
the repubiican government, they were chosen. M. 

308 PLINY 

as I did myself. In this, however, I am clear, that it was 
proper to offer you by way of advice the method I pursued. 


To Fabatus 

I HAVE the best reason, certainly, for celebrating your 
birthday as my own, since all the happiness of mine arises 
from yours, to whose care and diligence it is owing that 
I am gay here and at my ease in town. — Your Camillian 
villa^ in Campania has suffered by the injuries of time, and 
is falling into decay ; however, the most valuable parts of 
the building either remain entire or are but slightly dam- 
aged, and it shall be my care to see it put into thorough 
repair. — Though I flatter myself I have many friends, yet 
I have scarcely any of the sort you enquire after, and which 
the affair you mention demands. All mine lie among those 
whose employments engage them in town ; whereas the con- 
duct of country business requires a person of a robust con- 
stitution, and bred up to the country, to whom the work 
may not seem hard, nor the office beneath him, and who does 
not feel a solitary life depressing. You think most highly 
of Rufus, for he was a great friend of your son's; but of 
what use he can be to us upon this occasion, I cannot con- 
ceive ; though I am sure he will be glad to do all he can for 
us. Farewell. 



I RECEIVED lately the most exquisite satisfaction at Cen- 
tumcellae* (as it is now called), being summoned thither 
by Caesar'' to attend a council. Could anything indeed 
afford a higher pleasure than to see the emperor exercising 
his justice, his wisdom, and his affability, even in retire- 
ment, where those virtues are most observable? Various 
were the points brought in judgment before him, and which 

1 So called, because it formerly belonged to Camillus. M. 
~ Civita Vecchia. ^ Trajan. 


proved, in so many different instances, the excellence of the 
judge. The cause of Claudius Ariston came on first. He is 
an Ephesian nobleman, of great munificence and unam- 
bitious popularity, whose virtues have rendered him obnox- 
ious to a set of people of far different characters; they had 
instigated an informer against him, of the same infamous 
stamp v^ith themselves; but he was honourably acquitted. 
The next day, the case of Galitta, accused of adultery, was 
heard. Her husband, who is a military tribune, was upon 
the point of offering himself as a candidate for certain 
honours at Rome, but she had stained her own good name 
and his by an intrigue with a centurion.* The husband in- 
formed the consul's lieutenant, who wrote to the emperor 
about it. Caesar, having thoroughly sifted the evidence, 
cashiered the centurion, and sentenced him to banishment. 
It remained that some penalty should be inflicted likewise 
upon the other party, as it is a crime of which both must 
necessarily be equally guitty. But the husband's affection 
for his wife inclined him to drop that part of the prosecu- 
tion, not without some reflections on his forbearance ; for he 
continued to live with her even after he had commenced 
this prosecution, content, it would seem, with having re- 
moved his rival. But he was ordered to proceed in the suit: 
and, though he complied with great reluctance, it was neces- 
sary, nevertheless, that she should be condemned. Accord- 
ingly, she was sentenced to the punishment directed by the 
Julian law.* The emperor thought proper to specify, in his 
decree, the name and office of the centurion, that it might 
appear he passed it in virtue of military discipline; lest it 
should be imagined he claimed a particular cognizance in 
every cause of the same nature. The third day was em- 
ployed in examining into an affair which had occasioned a 
good deal of talk and various reports; it was concerning 
the codicils of Julius Tiro, part of which was plainly genu- 
ine, while the other part, it was alleged, was forged. The 
persons accused of this fraud were Sempronius Senecio, a 
Roman knight, and Eurythmus, Caesar's freedman and pro- 

_ »An officer in the Roman legions, answering in some sort to a captain 
in our companies. M. 

*This law was made by Augustus Caesar; but it nowhere clearly apnears 
what was the peculiar punishment it inflicted. M. 

310 PLINY 

curator.' The heirs jointly petitioned the emperor, when 
he was in Dacia,* that he would reserve to himself the trial 
of this cause; to which he consented. On his return from 
that expedition, he appointed a day for the hearing; and 
when some of the heirs, as though out of respect to Euryth- 
mus, offered to withdraw the suit, the emperor nobly replied, 
" He is not Polycletus,'' nor am I Nero." However, he in- 
dulged the petitioners with an adjournment, and the time 
being expired, he now sat to hear the cause. Two of the 
heirs appeared, and desired that either their whole number 
might be compelled to plead, as they had all joined in 
the information, or that they also might have leave to with- 
draw. Caesar delivered his opinion with great dignity and 
moderation; and when the counsel on the part of Senecio 
and Eurythmus had represented that unless their clients were 
heard, they would remain under the suspicion of guilt, — 
" I am not concerned," said the emperor, " what suspicions 
they may lie under, it is I that am suspected ; " and then 
turning to us, " Advise me," said he, " how to act in this 
affair, for you see they complain when allowed to withdraw 
their suit." At length, by the advice of the counsel, he 
ordered notice to be given to the heirs that they should 
either proceed with the case or each of them justify their 
reasons for not doing so; otherwise that he would pass 
sentence upon them as calumniators.' Thus you see how 
usefully and seriously we spent our time, which however 
was diversified with amusements of the most agreeable 
kind. We were every day invited to Caesar's table, which, 
for so great a prince, was spread with much plainness and 
simplicity. There we were either entertained with inter- 
ludes or passed the night in the most pleasing conversation. 
When we took our leave of him the last day, he made each 
of us presents ; so studiously polite is Caesar ! As for 

* An officer employed by the emperor to receive and regulate the public 
revenue in the provinces. M. 

^ Comprehending Transylvania, Moldavia, and Walachia. M. 
^Polycletus was a freedman, and great favourite of Nero. M. 

* Memmius, or Rhemmius (the critics are not agreed which), was author 
of a law by which it was enacted that whosoever was convicted of calumny 
and false accusation should be stigmatised with a mark in his forehead; 
and by the law of the twelve tables, false accusers were to suffer the same 
punishment as would have been inflicted upon the person unjustly accused 
if the crime had been proved. M. 


myself, I was not only charmed with the dignity and wisdom 
of the judge, the honour done to the assessors, the ease and 
unreserved freedom of our social intercourse, but with the 
exquisite situation of the place itself. This delightful villa 
is surrounded by the greenest meadows, and overlooks the 
shore, which bends inwards, forming a complete harbour. 
The left arm of this port is defended by exceedingly strong 
works, while the right is in process of completion. An 
artificial island, which rises at the mouth of the harbour, 
breaks the force of the waves, and affords a safe passage 
to ships on either side. This island is formed by a process 
worth seeing: stones of a most enormous size are transported 
hither in a large sort of pontoons, and being piled one upon 
the other, are fixed by their own weight, gradually accumu- 
lating in the manner, as it were, of a natural mound. It 
already lifts its rocky back above the ocean, while the waves 
which beat upon it, being broken and tossed to an immense 
height, foam with a prodigious noise, and whiten all the 
surrounding sea. To these stones are added wooden 
piers, which in process of time will give it the appearance 
of a natural island. This haven is to be called by the name 
of its great author,* and will prove of infinite' benefit, by 
affording a secure retreat to ships on that extensive and 
dangerous coast. Farewell. 


To Maximus 

You did perfectly right in promising a gladiatorial combat 
to our good friends the citizens of Verona, who have long 
loved, looked up to, and honoured, you; while it was from 
that city too you received that amiable object of your most 
tender affection, your late excellent wife. And since you 
owed some monument or public representation to her 
memory, what other spectacle could you have exhibited 
more appropriate to the occasion? Besides, you were so 
unanimously pressed to do so that to have refused would 
have looked more like hardness than resolution. The readi- 

• Trajan. 

312 PLINY 

ness too with which you granted their petition, and the 
magnificent manner in which you performed it, is very much 
to your honour; for a greatness of soul is seen in these 
smaller instances, as well as in matters of higher moment. 
I wish the African panthers, which you had largely provided 
for this purpose, had arrived on the day appointed, but 
though they were delayed by the stormy weather, the ob- 
ligation to you is equally the same, since it was not your 
fault that they were not exhibited. Farewell. 


To Restitutus 

This obstinate illness of yours alarms me; and though I 
know how extremely temperate you are, yet I fear lest your 
disease should get the better of your moderation. Let me 
entreat you then to resist it with a determined abstemious- 
ness: a remedy, be assured, of all others the most laudable 
as well as the most salutary. Human nature itself admits 
the practicability of what I recommend: it is a rule, at 
least, which I always enjoin my family to observe with 
respect to myself. " I hope," I say to them, " that should I 
be attacked with any disorder, I shall desire nothing of 
which I ought either to be ashamed or have reason to 
repent; however, if my distemper should prevail over my 
resolution, I forbid that anything be given me but by the 
consent of my physicians; and I shall resent your compli- 
ance with me in things improper as much as another man 
would their refusal." I once had a most violent fever; 
when the fit was a little abated, and I had been anointed,^ 
my physician offered me something to drink; I held out 
my hand, desiring he would first feel my pulse, and upon 
his not seeming quite satisfied, I instantly returned the 
cup, though it was just at my lips. Afterwards, when I was 
preparing to go into the bath, twenty days from the first 
attack of my illness, perceiving the physicians whispering 

1 Unction was much esteemed and prescribed by the ancients. Celsus 
expressly recommends it in the remission of acute distempers: " ungi 
leniterque pertractari corpus, etiam in acutis et recentibus ntorbis oportetj 
in remissione tamen," &c. Celsi Med. ed. Almeloveen, p. 88. M. 


together, I enquired what they were saying. They replied 
they were of opinion I may possibly bathe with safety, how- 
ever that they were not without some suspicion of risk. 
" What need is there," said I, " of my taking a bath at all ? " 
And so, with perfect calmness and tranquillity, I gave up 
a pleasure I was upon the point of enjoying, and abstained 
from the bath as serenely and composedly as though I were 
going into it. I mention this, not only by way of enforcing 
my advice by example, but also that this letter may be a 
sort of tie upon me to persevere in the same resolute absti- 
nence for the future. Farewell. 


To Calpurnia^ 

You will not believe what a longing for you possesses 
me. The chief cause of this is my love; and then we have 
not grown used to be apart. So it comes to pass that I lie 
awake a great part of the night, thinking of you; and that 
by day, when the hours return at which I was wont to visit 
you, my feet take me, as it is so truly said, to your chamber, 
but not finding you there, I return, sick and sad at heart, 
like an excluded lover. The only time that is free from 
these torments is when I am being worn out at the bar, and 
in the suits of my friends. Judge you what must be my 
life when I find my repose in toil, my solace in wretched- 
ness and anxiety. Farewell. 


To Macrinus 

A VERY singular and remarkable accident has happened 
in the affair of Varenus,^ the result of which is yet doubtful. 
The Bithynians, it is said, have dropped their prosecution 
of him; being convinced at last that it was rashly under- 
taken. A deputy from that province is arrived, who has 

* His wife. * See book v. letter xx. 

314 PLINY 

brought with him a decree of their assembly; copies of 
which he has delivered to Caesar,^ and to several of the 
leading men in Rome, and also to us, the advocates for 
Varenus. Magnus,* nevertheless, whom I mentioned in 
my last letter to you, persists in his charge, to support 
which he is incessantly teazing the worthy Nigrinus. This 
excellent person was counsel for him in his former peti- 
tion to the consuls, that Varenus might be compelled to 
produce his accounts. Upon this occasion, as I attended 
Varenus merely as a friend, I determined to be silent. I 
thought it highly imprudent for me, as I was appointed 
his counsel by the senate, to attempt to defend him as an 
accused person, when it was his business to insist that 
there was actually no charge subsisting against him. How- 
ever, when Nigrinus had finished his speech, the consuls 
turning their eyes upon me, I rose up, and, " When you shall 
hear," I said, " what the real deputies from the province 
have to object against the motion of Nigrinus, you will see 
that my silence was not without Just reason." Upon this 
Nigrinus asked me, "To whom are these deputies sent?" I 
repHed, " To me among others ; I have the decree of the 
province in my hands." He returned, " That is a point 
which, though it may be clear to you, I am not so well 
satisfied of." To this I answered, " Though it may not 
be so evident to you, who are concerned to support the 
accusation, it may be perfectly clear to me, who am on 
the more favourable side." Then Polyaenus, the deputy 
from the province, acquainted the senate with the reasons 
for superseding the prosecution, but desired it might be with- 
out prejudice to Caesar's determination. Magnus answered 
him ; Polyaenus replied ; as for myself, I only now and then 
threw in a word, observing in general a complete silence. 
For I have learned that upon some occasions it is as much an 
orator's business to be silent as to speak, and I remember, 
in some criminal cases, to have done even more service to 
my clients by a discreet silence than I could have expected 
from the most carefully prepared speech. To enter into 
the subject of eloquence is indeed very foreign to the pur- 

2 Trajan. , . , ,, 

3 One of the Bithynians employed to manage the trial. M. 


pose of my letter, yet allow me to give you one instance 
in proof of my last observation. A certain lady having 
lost her son suspected that his freedmen, whom he had 
appointed coheirs with her, were guilty of forging the will 
and poisoning him. Accordingly she charged them with the 
fact before the emperor, who directed Julianus Suburanus 
to try the cause. I was counsel for the defendants, and the 
case being exceedingly remarkable, and the counsel en- 
gaged on both sides of eminent ability, it drew together 
a very numerous audience. The issue was, the servants 
being put to the torture, my clients were acquitted. But 
the mother applied a second time to the emperor, pretend- 
ing she had discovered some new evidence. Suburanus was 
therefore directed to hear the cause, and see if she could 
produce any fresh proofs, Julius Africanus was counsel 
for the mother, a young man of good parts, but slender 
experience. He is grandson to the famous orator of that 
name, of whom it is reported that Passienus Crispus, 
hearing him one day plead, archly said, " Very fine, I must 
confess, very fine; but is all this fine speaking to the 
purpose?" Julius Africanus, I say, having made a long 
harangue, and exhausted the portion of time allotted to 
him, said, " I beg you, Suburanus, to allow me to add one 
word more." When he had concluded, and the eyes of the 
whole assembly had been fixed a considerable time upon 
me, I rose up. " I would have answered Africanus," said I, 
" if he had added that one word he begged leave to do, in 
which I doubt not he would have told us all that we had 
not heard before." I do not remember to have gained so 
much applause by any speech that I ever made as I did in 
this instance by making none. Thus the little that I had 
hitherto said for Varenus was received with the same gen- 
eral approbation. The consuls, agreeably to the request of 
Polyaenus, reserved the whole afifair for the determination 
of the emperor, whose resolution I impatiently wait for; as 
that will decide whether I may be entirely secure and easy 
with respect to Varenus, or must again renew all my trouble 
and anxiety upon his account. Farewell. 

316 PLINY 


To Tuscus 

You desire my opinion as to the method of study you 
should pursue, in that retirement to which you have long 
since withdrawn. In the first place, then, I look upon it 
as a very advantageous practice (and it is what many rec- 
ommend) to translate either from Greek into Latin or 
from Latin into Greek. By this means you acquire pro- 
priety and dignity of expression, and a variety of beautiful 
figures, and an ease and strength of exposition, and in the 
imitation of the best models a facility of creating such 
models for yourself. Besides, those things which you may 
possibly have overlooked in an ordinary reading over can- 
not escape you in translating: and this method will also en- 
large your knowledge, and improve your judgment. It may 
not be amiss, after you have read an author, to turn, as it 
were, to his rival, and attempt something of your own upon 
the same topic, and then make a careful comparison between 
your performance and his, in order to see in what points 
either you or he may be the happier. You may congratulate 
yourself indeed if you shall find in some things that you have 
the advantage of him, while it will be a great mortification 
if he is always superior. You may sometimes select very 
famous passages and compete with what you select. The 
competition is daring enough, but, as it is private, cannot be 
called impudent. Not but that we have seen instances of 
persons who have publicly entered this sort of lists with 
great credit to themselves, and, while they did not despair of 
overtaking, have gloriously outstripped those whom they 
thought it sufficient honour to follow. A speech no longer 
fresh in your memory, you may take up again. You will 
find plenty in it to leave unaltered, but still more to reject; 
you will add a new thought here, and alter another there. 
It is a laborious and tedious task, I own, thus to re-enflame 
the mind after the first heat is over, to recover an impulse 
when its force has been checked and spent, and, worse than 
all, to put new limbs into a body already complete without 
disturbing the old; but the advantage attending this method 


will overbalance the difficulty. I know the bent of your 
present attention is directed towards the eloquence of the 
bar; but I would not for that reason advise you never to 
quit the polemic, if I may so call it, and contentious style. 
As land is improved by sowing it with various seeds, con- 
stantly changed, so is the mind by exercising it now with 
this subject of study, now with that. I would recommend 
you, therefore, sometimes to take a subject from history, and 
you might give more care to the composition of your letters. 
For it frequently happens that in pleading one has occasion 
to make use not only of historical, but even poetical, styles 
of description ; and then from letters you acquire a concise 
and simple mode of expression. You will do quite right 
again in refreshing yourself with poetry: when I say so, I 
do not mean that species of poetry which turns upon subjects 
of great length and continuity (such being suitable only for 
persons of leisure), but those little pieces of the sprightly 
kind of poesy, which serve as proper reliefs to, and are con- 
sistent with, employments of every sort. They commonly 
go under the title of poetical amusements; but these amuse- 
ments have sometimes gained their authors as much repu- 
tation as works of a more serious nature; and thus (for 
while I am exhorting you to poetry, why' should I not turn 
poet myself?) 

"As yielding wax the artist's skill commands, 
Submissive shap'd beneath his forming hands; 
Now dreadful stands in arms a Mars confest; 
Or now with Venus's softer air imprest ; 
A wanton Cupid now the mould belies ; 
Now shines, severely chaste, a Pallas wife : 
As not alone to quench the raging flame, 
The sacred fountain pours her friendly stream ; 
But sweetly gliding through the flow'ry green. 
Spreads glad refreshment o'er the smiling scene : 
So, form'd by science, should the ductile mind 
Receive, distinct, each various art refin'd." 

In this manner the greatest men, as well as the greatest 
orators, used either to exercise or amuse themselves, or 
rather indeed did both. It is surprising how much the 
mind is enlivened and refreshed by these little poetical 
compositions, as they turn upon love, hatred, satire, tender- 

318 PLINY 

ness, politeness, and everything, in short, that concerns life 
and the affairs of the world. Besides, the same advantage 
attends these, as every other sort of poems, that we turn 
from them to prose with so much the more pleasure after 
having experienced the diificulty of being constrained and 
fettered by metre. And now, perhaps, I have troubled you 
upon this subject longer than you desired; however, there 
is one thing I have left out: I have not told you what kind 
of authors you should read; though indeed that was suf- 
ficiently implied when I told you on what you should write. 
Remember to be careful in your choice of authors of every 
kind : for, as it has been well observed, " though we should 
read much, we should not read many books." Who those 
authors are, is so clearly settled, and so generally known, 
that I need not particularly specify them; besides, I have 
already extended this letter to such an immoderate length 
that, while suggesting how you ought to study, I have, I 
fear, been actually interrupting your studies. I will here 
resign you therefore to your tablets, either to resume the 
studies in which you were before engaged or to enter upon 
some of those I have recommended. Farewell. 


To Fabatus (his Wife's Grandfather) 

You are surprised, I find, that my share of five-twelfths 
of the estate which lately fell to me, and which I had di- 
rected to be sold to the best bidder, should have been dis- 
posed of by my freedman Hermes to Corellia (without 
putting it up to auction) at the rate of seven hundred thou- 
sand sesterces^ for the whole. And as you think it might 
have fetched nine hundred thousand,* you are so much the 
more desirous to know whether I am inclined to ratify what 
he has done. I am; and listen, while I tell you why, for I 
hope that not only you will approve, but also that my fellow- 
coheirs will excuse me for having, upon a motive of superior 
obligation, separated my interest from theirs, I have the 

* About $28,000. "About $36,000. 


highest esteem for Corellia, both as the sister of Rufus, 
whose memory will always be a sacred one to me, and as 
my mother's intimate friend. Besides, that excellent man 
Minutius Tuscus, her husband, has every claim to my affec- 
tion that a long friendship can give him; as there was like- 
wise the closest intimacy between her son and me, so much 
so indeed that I fixed upon him to preside at the games 
which I exhibited when I was elected praetor. This lady, 
when I was last in the country, expressed a strong desire for 
some place upon the borders of our lake of Comum; I 
therefore made her an offer, at her own price, of any part 
of my land there, except what came to me from my father 
and mother; for that I could not consent to part with, even 
to Corellia, and accordingly when the inheritance in question 
fell to me, I wrote to let her know it was to be sold. This 
letter I sent by Hermes, who, upon her requesting him that 
he would immediately make over to her my proportion of it, 
consented. Am I not then obliged to confirm what my freed- 
man has thus done in pursuance of my inclinations ? I have 
only to entreat my fellow-coheirs that they will not take it 
ill at my hands that I have made a separate sale of what I 
had certainly a right to dispose of. They are not bound in 
any way to follow my example, since they have not the same 
connections with CoreUia. They are at full liberty therefore 
to be guided by interest, which in my own case I chose to 
sacrifice to friendship. Farewell. 


To Corellia 

You are truly generous to desire and insist that I take 
for my share of the estate you purchased of me, not after 
the rate of seven hundred thousand sesterces for the whole, 
as my freedman sold it to you ; but in the proportion of nine 
hundred thousand, agreeably to what you gave to the farm- 
ers of the twentieths for their part. But I must desire and 
insist in my turn that you would consider not only what is 
suitable to your character, but what is worthy of mine ; and 
that you would suffer me to oppose your inclination in this 

320 PLINY 

single instance, with the same warmth that T obey it in all 
others. Farewell. 


To Celer 

Every author has his particular reasons for reciting his 
works; mine, I have often said, are, in order, if any error 
should have escaped my own observation (as no doubt they 
do escape it sometimes), to have it pointed out to me. I 
cannot therefore but be surprised to find (what your letter 
assures me) that there are some who blame me for reciting 
my speeches : unless, perhaps, they are of opinion that this 
is the single species of composition that ought to be held 
exempt from any correction. If so, I would willingly ask 
them why they allow (if indeed they do allow) that his- 
tory may be recited, since it is a work which ought to be 
devoted to truth, not ostentation? or why tragedy, as it is 
composed for action and the stage, not for being read to a 
private audience? or lyric poetry, as it is not a reader, 
but a chorus of voices and instruments that it requires? 
They will reply, perhaps, that in the instances referred to 
custom has made the practice in question usual : I should 
be glad to know, then, if they think the person who first 
introduced this practice is to be condemned? Besides the 
rehearsal of speeches is no unprecedented thing either with 
us or the Grecians. Still, perhaps, they will insist that it 
can answer no purpose to recite a speech which has already 
been delivered. True; if one were immediately to repeat 
the very same speech word for word, and to the very same 
audience; but if you make several additions and altera- 
tions; if your audience is composed partly of the same, 
and partly of different persons, and the recital is at some 
distance of time, why is there less propriety in rehearsing 
your speech than in publishing it? "But it is difficult," 
the objectors urge, " to give satisfaction to an audience by 
the mere recital of a speech " ; that is a consideration which 
concerns the particular skill and pains of the person who 
rehearses, but by no means holds good against recitation in 
general. The truth is, it is not whilst I am reading, but 


when I am read, that I aim at approbation; and upon this 
principle I omit no sort of correction. In the first plactj I 
frequently go carefully over what I have written, by my- 
self, after this I read it out to two or three friends, and 
then give it to others to make their remarks. If after 
this I have any doubt concerning the justness of their 
observations, I carefully weigh them again with a friend 
or two; and, last of all, I recite them to a larger audience, 
then is the time, believe me, when I correct most ener- 
getically and unsparingly; for my care and attention rise 
in proportion to my anxiety; as nothing renders the judg- 
ment so acute to detect error as that deference, modesty, 
and diffidence one feels upon those occasions. For tell me, 
would you not be infinitely less affected were you to speak 
before a single person only, though ever so learned, than 
before a numerous assembly, even though composed of 
none but illiterate people? When you rise up to plead, 
are you not at that juncture, above all others, most self- 
distrustful? and do you not wish, I will not say some par- 
ticular parts only, but that the whole arrangement of your 
intended speech were altered? especially if the concourse 
should be large in which you are to speak? for there is 
something even in a low and vulgar audience that strikes 
one with awe. And if you suspect you are not well re- 
ceived at the first opening of your speech, do you not find 
all your energy relaxed, and feel yourself ready to give 
way? The reason I imagine to be that there is a certain 
weight of collective opinion in a multitude, and although 
each individual judgment is, perhaps, of little value, yet 
when united it becomes considerable. Accordingly, Pom- 
ponius Secundus, the famous tragic poet, whenever some 
very intimate friend and he differed about the retaining or 
rejecting anything in his writings, used to say, " I appeal^ to 
the people " ; and thus, by their silence or applause, adopted 
either his own or his friend's opinion; such was the defer- 
ence he paid to the popular judgment! Whether justly 

^ There is a kind of witticism in this expression, which will be lost to 
the mere English reader, unless he be informed that the Romans had a 
privilege, confirmed to them by several laws which passed in the earlier 
ages ot the republic, of appealing from the decisions of the magistrates to 
the general assembly of the people: and they did so in the form of words 
which Pomponius here applies to a different purpose. M. 


322 PLINY 

or not, is no concern of mine, as I am not in the habit of 
reciting my works publicly, but only to a select circle, 
whose presence I respect, and whose judgment I value; in 
a word, whose opinions I attend to as if they were so many 
individuals I had separately consulted, at the same time 
that I stand in as much awe before them as I should before 
the most numerous assembly. What Cicero says of com- 
posing will, in my opinion, hold true of the dread we have 
of the public : " Fear is the most rigid critic imaginable." 
The very thought of reciting, the very entrance into an 
assembly, and the agitated concern when one is there; each 
of these circumstances tends to improve and perfect an 
author's performance. Upon the whole, therefore, I cannot 
repent of a practice which I have found by experience so 
exceedingly useful; and am so far from being discouraged 
by the trifling objections of these censors that I request 
you would point out to me if there is yet any other kind of 
correction, that I may also adopt it; for nothing can suf- 
ficiently satisfy my anxiety to render my compositions 
perfect. I reflect what an undertaking it is resigning any 
work into the hands of the public; and I cannot but be 
persuaded that frequent revisals, and many consultations, 
must go to the perfecting of a performance, which one 
desires should universally and forever please. Farewell. 


To Priscus 

The illness of my friend Fannia gives me great concern. 
She contracted it during her attendance on Junia, one 
of the Vestal virgins, engaging in this good office at first 
voluntarily, Junia being her relation, and afterwards being 
appointed to it by an order from the college of priests: 
for these virgins, when excessive ill-health renders it neces- 
sary to remove them from the temple of Vesta, are always 
delivered over to the care and custody of some venerable 
matron. It was owing to her assiduity in the execution of 
this charge that she contracted her present dangerous dis- 
order, which is a continual fever, attended with a cough 


that increases daily. She is extremely emaciated, and every 
part of her seems in a total decay except her spirits: those, 
indeed, she fully keeps up; and in a way altogether worthy 
the wife of Helvidius, and the daughter of Thrasea. In all 
other respects there is such a falling away that I am more 
than apprehensive upon her account; I am deeply afflicted. 
I grieve, my friend, that so excellent a woman is going to 
be removed from the eyes of the world, which will never, 
perhaps, again behold her equal. So pure she is, so pious, 
so wise and prudent, so brave and steadfast ! Twice she 
followed her husband into exile, and the third time she was 
banished herself upon his account. For Senecio, when ar- 
raigned for writing the life of Helvidius, having said in 
his defence that he composed that work at the request of 
Fannia, Metius Carus, with a stern and threatening air, 
asked her whether she had made that request, and she re- 
plied, " I made it." Did she supply him likewise with ma- 
terials for the purpose? "I did." Was her mother privy to 
this transaction ? " She was not." In short, throughout her 
whole examination, not a word escaped her which betrayed 
the smallest fear. On the contrary, she had preserved a 
copy of those very books which the senate, over-awed by 
the tyranny of the times, had ordered to be suppressed, and 
at the same time the effects of the author to be confiscated, 
and carried with her into exile the very cause of her exile. 
How pleasing she is, how courteous, and (what is granted 
to few) no less lovable than worthy of all esteem and 
admiration ! Will she hereafter be pointed out as a model 
to all wives; and perhaps be esteemed worthy of being set 
forth as an example of fortitude even to our sex; since, 
while we still have the pleasure of seeing and conversing 
with her, we contemplate her with the same admiration, as 
those heroines who are celebrated in ancient story? For 
myself, I confess, I cannot but tremble for this illustrious 
house, which seems shaken to its very foundations, and ready 
to fall ; for though she will leave descendants behind her, 
yet what a height of virtue must they attain, what glorious 
deeds must they perform, ere the world will be persuaded 
that she was not the last of her family ! It is an additional 
affliction and anguish to me that by her death I seem to 

324 PLINY 

lose her mother a second time; that worthy mother (and 
what can I say higher in her praise?) of so noble a woman! 
who, as she was restored to me in her daughter, so she 
will now again be taken from me, and the loss of Fannia 
will thus pierce my heart at once with a fresh, and at the 
same time re-opened, wound. I so truly loved and honoured 
them both, that I know not which I loved the best; a point 
they desired might ever remain undetermined. In their 
prosperity and their adversity I did them every kindness in 
my power, and was their comforter in exile, as well as their 
avenger at their return. But I have not yet paid them what 
I owe, and am so much the more solicitous for the recovery 
of this lady, that I may have time to discharge my debt to 
her. Such is the anxiety and sorrow under which I write 
this letter ! But if some divine power should happily turn 
it into joy, I shall not complain of the alarms I now suffer. 


To Geminius 

NuMiDiA QuADRATiLLA is dead, having almost reached her 
eightieth year. She enjoyed, up to her last illness, unin- 
terrupted good health, and was unusually stout and robust 
for one of her sex. She has left a very prudent will, having 
disposed of two-thirds of her estate to her grandson, and 
the rest to her grand-daughter. The young lady I know 
very slightly, but the grandson is one of my most intimate 
friends. He is a remarkable young man, and his merit en- 
titles him to the affection of a relation, even where his blood 
does not. Notwithstanding his remarkable personal beauty, 
he escaped every malicious imputation both whilst a boy 
and when a youth: he was a husband at four-and-twenty, 
and would have been a father if Providence had not disap- 
pointed his hopes. He lived in the family with his grand- 
mother, who was exceedingly devoted to the pleasures of the 
town, yet observed great severity of conduct himself, while 
always perfectly deferential and submissive to her. She re- 
tained a set of pantomimes, and was an encourager of this 
class of people to a degree inconsistent with one of her sex 


and rank. But Quadratus never appeared at these enter- 
tainments, whether she exhibited them in the theatre or in 
her own house ; nor indeed did she require him to be present. 
I once heard her say, when she was recommending to me 
the supervision of her grandson's studies, that it was her 
custom, in order to pass away some of those unemployed 
hours with which female life abounds, to amuse herself with 
playing at chess, or seeing the mimicry of her pantomimes; 
but that, whenever she engaged in either of those amuse- 
ments, she constantly sent away her grandson to his studies : 
she appeared to me to act thus as much out of reverence 
for the youth as from affection. I was a good deal sur- 
prised, as I am sure you will be too, at what he told me 
the last time the Pontifical games^ were exhibited. As 
we were coming out of the theatre together, where we 
had been entertained with a show of these pantomimes, 
" Do you know,'' said he, " to-day is the first time I ever saw 
my grandmother's f reedman dance ? " Such was the grand- 
son's speech ! while a set of men of a far different stamp, in 
order to do honour to Quadratilla (am ashamed to call it 
honour), were running up and down the theatre, pretend- 
ing to be struck with the utmost admiration and rapture 
at the performances of those pantomimes, and then imi- 
tating in musical chant the mien and manner of their lady 
patroness. But now all the reward they have got, in return 
for their theatrical performances, is just a few trivial 
legacies, which they have the mortification to receive from 
an heir who was never so much as present at these shows. — 
I send you this account, knowing you do not dislike hearing 
town news, and because, too, when any occurrence has given 
me pleasure, I love to renew it again by relating it. And 
indeed this instance of affection in Quadratilla, and the 
honour done therein to that excellent youth her grandson, 
has afforded me a very sensible satisfaction; as I extremely 
rejoice that the house which once belonged to Cassius,^ the 
founder and chief of the Cassian school, is come into the 
possession of one no less considerable than its former 

^ The priests, as well as other magistrates, exhibited public games to the 
people wnen they entered upon their office. M. 

*A famous lawyer who flourished in the reign of the emperor Claudius: 
those who followed his opinions were said to be Cassians, or of the school 
of Cassius. M. 

326 PLINY 

master. For my friend will fill it and become it as he ought, 
and its ancient dignity, lustre, and glory will again revive 
under Quadratus, who, I am persuaded, will prove as emi- 
nent an orator as Cassius was a lawyer. Farewell. 


To Maximus 

The lingering disorder of a friend of mine gave me 
occasion lately to reflect that we are never so good as when 
oppressed with illness. Where is the sick man who is either 
solicited by avarice or inflamed with lust? At such a season 
he is neither a slave of love nor the fool of ambition ; wealth 
he utterly disregards, and is content with ever so small a 
portion of it, as being upon the point of leaving even that 
little. It is then he recollects there are gods, and that he 
himself is but a man: no mortal is then the object of his 
envy, his admiration, or his contempt; and the tales of 
slander neither raise his attention nor feed his curiosity : his 
dreams are only of baths and fountains. These are the su- 
preme objects of his cares and wishes, while he resolves, 
if he should recover, to pass the remainder of his days in 
ease and tranquillity, that is, to live innocently and happily. 
I may therefore lay down to you and myself a short rule, 
which the philosophers have endeavoured to inculcate at the 
expense of many words, and even many volumes; that "we 
should try and realise in health those resolutions we form in 
sickness." Farewell. 


To Sura 

The present recess from business we are now enjoying 
affords you leisure to give, and me to receive, instruction, 
I am extremely desirous therefore to know whether you 
believe in the existence of ghosts, and that they have a 
real form, and are a sort of divinities, or only the visionary 
impressions of a terrified imagination. What particularly 
inclines me to believe in their existence is a story which 


I heard of Curtius Rufus. When he was in low circum- 
stances and unknown in the world, he attended the governor 
of Africa into that province. One evening, as he was walk- 
ing in the public portico, there appeared to him the figure 
of a woman, of unusual size and of beauty more than human. 
And as he stood there, terrified and astonished, she told him 
she was the tutelary power that presided over Africa, and 
was come to inform him of the future events of his life: 
that he should go back to Rome, to enjoy high honours 
there, and return to that province invested with the pro- 
consular dignity, and there should die. Every circumstance 
of this prediction actually came to pass. It is said farther 
that upon his arrival at Carthage, as he was coming out of 
the ship, the same figure met him upon the shore. It is 
certain, at least, that being seized with a fit of illness, though 
there were no symptoms in his case that led those about him 
to despair, he instantly gave up all hope of recovery; judg- 
ing, apparently, of the truth of the future part of the pre- 
diction by what had already been fulfilled, and of the 
approaching misfortune from his former prosperity. Now 
the following story, which I am going to tell you just as I 
heard it, is it not more terrible than the former, while quite 
as wonderful? There was at Athens a large and roomy 
house, which had a bad name, so that no one could live 
there. In the dead of the night a noise, resembling the 
clashing of iron, was frequently heard, which, if you listened 
more attentively, sounded like the rattling of chains, distant 
at first, but approaching nearer by degrees: immediately af- 
terwards a spectre appeared in the form of an old man, of 
extremely emaciated and squalid appearance, with a long 
beard and dishevelled hair, rattling the chains on his feet 
and hands. The distressed occupants meanwhile passed 
their wakeful nights under the most dreadful terrors imag- 
inable. This, as it broke their rest, ruined their health, and 
brought on distempers, their terror grew upon them, and 
death ensued. Even in the day time, though the spirit did 
not appear, yet the impression remained so strong upon their 
imaginations that it still seemed before their eyes, and kept 
them in perpetual alarm. Consequently the house was at 
length deserted, as being deemed absolutely uninhabitable; 

328 PLINY 

so that it was now entirely abandoned to the ghost. How- 
ever, in hopes that some tenant might be found who was 
ignorant of this very alarming circumstance, a bill was put 
up, giving notice that it was either to be let or sold. It 
happened that Athenodorus^ the philosopher came to Athens 
at this time, and, reading the bill, enquired the price. The 
extraordinary cheapness raised his suspicion ; nevertheless, 
when he heard the whole story, he was so far from being 
discouraged that he was more strongly inclined to hire it, 
and, in short, actually did so. When it grew towards even- 
ing, he ordered a couch to be prepared for him in the front 
part of the house, and, after calling for a light, together 
with his pencil and tablets, directed all his people to retire. 
But that his mind might not, for want of employment, be 
open to the vain terrors of imaginary noises and spirits, he 
applied himself to writing with the utmost attention. The 
first part of the night passed in entire silence, as usual; at 
length a clanking of iron and rattling of chains was heard: 
however, he neither lifted up his eyes nor laid down his 
pen, but in order to keep calm and collected tried to pass the 
sovinds ofif to himself as something else. The noise in- 
creased and advanced nearer, till it seemed at the door, and 
at last in the chamber. He looked up, saw, and recognized 
the ghost exactly as it had been described to him: it stood 
before him, beckoning with the finger, like a person who 
calls another. Athenodorus in reply made a sign with his 
hand that it should wait a little, and threw his eyes again 
upon his papers; the ghost then rattled its chains over the 
head of the philosopher, who looked up upon this, and seeing 
it beckoning as before, immediately arose, and, light in 
hand, followed it. The ghost slowly stalked along, as if 
encumbered with its chains, and, turning into the area of 
the house, suddenly vanished. Athenodorus, being thus 
deserted, made a mark with some grass and leaves on the 
spot where the spirit left him. The next day he gave in- 
formation to the magistrates, and advised them to order 
that spot to be dug up. This was accordingly done, and 
the skeleton of a man in chains was found there; for the 

* A Stoic philosopher and native of Tarsus. He was tutor for some time 
to Octavius, afterwards Augustus, Caesar. 


body, having lain a considerable time in the ground, was 
putrefied and mouldered away from the fetters. The bones 
being collected together were publicly buried, and thus after 
the ghost was appeased by the proper ceremonies, the house 
was haunted no more. This story I believe upon the credit 
of others; what I am going to mention, I give you upon 
my own. I have a freedman named Marcus, who is by no 
means illiterate. One night, as he and his younger brother 
were lying together, he fancied he saw somebody upon his 
bed, who took out a pair of scissors, and cut off the hair 
from the top part of his own head, and in the morning, it 
appeared his hair was actually cut, and the clippings lay 
scattered about the floor. A short time after this, an event 
of a similar nature contributed to give credit to the former 
story. A young lad of my family was sleeping in his apart- 
ment with the rest of his companions, when two persons 
clad in white came in, as he says, through the windows, cut 
ofif his hair as he lay, and then returned the same way they 
entered. The next morning it was found that this boy had 
been served just as the other, and there was the hair again, 
spread about the room. Nothing remarkable indeed fol- 
lowed these events, unless perhaps that I escaped a pro- 
secution, in which, if Domitian (during whose reign this 
happened) had lived some time longer, I should certainly 
have been involved. For after the death of that emperor, 
articles of impeachment against me were found in his 
scrtitore, which had been exhibited by Carus. It may there- 
fore be conjectured, since it is customary for persons under 
any public accusation to let their hair grow, this cutting off 
the hair of my servants was a sign I should escape the im- 
minent danger that threatened me. Let me desire you then 
to give this question your mature consideration. The sub- 
ject deserves your examination; as, I trust, I am not myself 
altogether unworthy a participation in the abundance of 
your superior knowledge. And though you should, as usual, 
balance between two opinions, yet I hope you will lean more 
on one side than on the other, lest, whilst I consult you in 
order to have my doubt settled, you should dismiss me in the 
same suspense and indecision that occasioned you the present 
application. Farewell. 

330 PLINY 


To Septitius 

You tell me certain persons have blamed me in your com- 
pany, as being upon all occasions too lavish in the praise I 
give my friends. I not only acknowledge the charge, but 
glory in it; for can there be a nobler error than an over- 
flowing benevolence? But still, who are these, let me ask, 
that are better acquainted with my friends than I am my- 
self? Yet grant there are any such, why will they deny me 
the satisfaction of so pleasing a mistake ? For supposing my 
friends not to deserve the highest encomiums I give them, 
yet I am happy in believing they do. Let them recommend 
then this malignant zeal to those (and their number is not 
inconsiderable) who imagine they show their judgment 
when they indulge their censure upon their friends. As for 
myself, they will never be able to persuade me I can be 
guilty of an excess^ in friendship. Farewell. 


To Tacitus 

I PREDICT (and I am persuaded I shall not be deceived) 
that your histories will be immortal. I frankly own there- 
fore I so much the more earnestly wish to find a place in 
them. If we are generally careful to have our faces taken 
by the best artists, ought we not to desire that our actions 
may be celebrated by an author of your distinguished abili- 
ties? I therefore call your attention to the following mat- 
ter, which, though it cannot have escaped your notice, as it 
is mentioned in the public journals, still I call your atten- 
tion to, that you may the more readily believe how agreeable 
it will be to me that this action, greatly heightened by the 
risk which attended it, should receive additional lustre from 
the testimony of a man of your powers. The senate ap- 
pointed Herennius Senecio, and myself, counsel for the prov- 

1 Balzac very prettily observes: " Tl y a des rivikres qui ne font jamais 
tant de bien que quand elles se debordent; de metne, I'amitie n'a rien 
meilleur que I'exces." M. 


ince of Baetica, in their impeachment of Boebius Massa. He 
was condemned, and the house ordered his effects to be 
seized into the hands of the public officer. Shortly after, 
Senecio, having learnt that the consuls intended to sit to 
hear petitions, came and said to me, "Let us go together, and 
petition them with the same unanimity in which we executed 
the office which had been enjoined us, not to suffer Massa's 
effects to be dissipated by those who were appointed to pre- 
serve them." I answered, "As we were counsel in this 
affair by order of the senate, I recommend it to your consid- 
eration whether it would be proper for us, after sentence 
passed, to interpose any farther." "You are at liberty," said 
he, "to prescribe what bounds you please to yourself, who 
have no particular connections with the province, except what 
arise from your late services to them; but then I was born 
there, and enjoyed the post of quaestor among them." "If 
such," I replied, "is your determined resolution, I am ready 
to accompany you, that whatever resentment may be the 
consequence of this affair, it may not fall singly upon your- 
self." We accordingly proceeded to the consuls, where 
Senecio said what was pertinent to the affair, and I added 
a few words to the same effect. Scarcely had we ended when 
Massa, complaining that Senecio had not acted against him 
with the fidelity of an advocate, but the bitterness of an 
enemy, desired he might be at liberty to prosecute him for 
treason. This occasioned general consternation. Whereupon 
I rose up; "Most noble consuls," said I, "I am afraid it 
should seem that Massa has tacitly charged me with having 
favoured him in this cause, since he did not think proper 
to join me with Senecio in the desired prosecution." This 
short speech was immediately received with applause, and 
afterwards got much talked about everywhere. The late 
emperor Nerva (who, though at that time in a private sta- 
tion, yet interested himself in every meritorious action per- 
formed in public) wrote a most impressive letter to me upon 
the occasion, in which he not only congratulated me, but the 
age which had produced an example so much in the spirit 
(as he was pleased to call it) of the good old days. But, 
whatever be the actual fact, it lies in your power to raise it 
into a grander and more conspicuously illustrious position, 

332 PLINY 

though I am far from desiring you in the least to exceed the 
bounds of reality. History ought to be guided by strict truth, 
and worthy actions require nothing more. Farewell. 


To Septitius 

I HAD a good journey here, excepting only that some of 
my servants were upset by the excessive heat. Poor En- 
colpius, my reader/ who is so indispensable to me in my 
studies and amusements, was so affected with the dust that 
it brought on a spitting of blood: an accident which will 
prove no less unpleasant to me than unfortunate to himself, 
should he be thereby rendered unfit for the literary work in 
which he so greatly excels. If that should unhappily result, 
where shall I find one who will read my works so well, or 
appreciate them so thoroughly as he? Whose tones will my 
ears drink in as they do his? But the gods seem to favour 
our better hopes, as the bleeding is stopped, and the pain 
abated. Besides, he is extremely temperate; while no con- 
cern is wanting on my part or care on his physician's. This, 
together with the wholesomeness of the air, and the quiet of 
retirement, gives us reason to expect that the country will 
contribute as much to the restoration of his health as to his 
rest. Farewell. 


To Calvisius 

Other people visit their estates in order to recruit their 
purses; whilst I go to mine only to return so much the 
poorer. I had sold my vintage to the merchants, who were 
extremely eager to purchase it, encouraged by the price it 
then bore, and what it was probable it would rise to: how- 
ever they were disappointed in their expectations. Upon this 
occasion to have made the same general abatement to all 

1 Persons of rank and literature among the Romans retained in their 
families a domestic whose sole business was to read to them. M. 


would have been much the easiest, though not so equitable a 
method. Now I hold it particularly worthy of a man of 
honour to be governed by principles of strict equity in his 
domestic as well as public conduct; in little matters as in 
great ones ; in his own concerns as well as in those of others. 
And if every deviation from rectitude is equally criminal/ 
every approach to it must be equally praiseworthy. So ac- 
cordingly I remitted to all in general one-eighth part of the 
price they had agreed to give me, that none might go away 
without some compensation: next, I particularly considered 
those who had advanced the largest sums towards their pur- 
chase, and done me so much the more service, and been 
greater sufferers themselves. To those, therefore, whose pur- 
chase amounted to more than ten thousand sesterces,^ I re- 
turned (over and above that which I may call the general 
and common eighth) a tenth part of what they had paid be- 
yond that sum. I fear I do not express myself sufficiently 
clearly ; I will endeavour to explain my meaning more fully : 
for instance, suppose a man had purchased of me to the 
value of fifteen thousand sesterces,* I remitted to him one- 
eighth part of that whole sum, and likewise one-tenth of five 
thousand.* Besides this, as several had deposited, in different 
proportions, part of the price they had agreed to pay, whilst 
others had advanced nothing, I thought it would not be at 
all fair that all these should be favoured with the same un- 
distinguished remission. To those, therefore, who had made 
any payments, I returned a tenth part upon the sums so paid. 
By this means I made a proper acknowledgment to each, ac- 
cording to their respective deserts, and likewise encouraged 
them, not only to deal with me for the future, but to be 
prompt in their payments. This instance of my good-nature 
or my judgment (call it which you please) was a consider- 
able expense to me. However, I found my account in it ; for 
all the country greatly approved both of the novelty of these 
abatements and the manner in which I regulated them. Even 
those whom I did not " mete " (as they say) " by the same 
measure," but distinguished according to their several de- 
grees, thought themselves obliged to me, in proportion to the 

^ It was a doctrine maintained by the Stoics that all crimes are equal, id, 
* About $400. ^ About $600. * About $93. 

334 PLINY y 

probity of their principles, and went away pleased with hav- 
ing experienced that not with me 

"The brave and mean an equal honour find."^ 

Farewell. i 



Have you ever seen the source of the river Clitumnus? 
If you have not (and I hardly think you can have seen it 
yet, or you would have told me), go there as soon as pos- 
sible. I saw it yesterday, and I blame myself for not having 
seen it sooner. At the foot of a little hill, well wooded with 
old cypress trees, a spring gushes out, which, breaking up 
into different and unequal streams, forms itself, after several 
windings, into a large, broad basin of water, so transparently 
clear that you may count the shining pebbles, and the 
little pieces of money thrown into it, as they lie at the 
bottom. From thence it is carried off not so much by the 
declivity of the ground as by its own weight and exuber- 
ance. A mere stream at its source, immediately, on quitting 
this, you find it expanded into a broad river, fit for large 
vessels even, allowing a free passage by each other, accord- 
ing as they sail with or against the streami The current 
runs so strong, though the ground is level, that the large 
barges going down the river have no occasion to make use 
of their oars; while those going up find it difficult to make 
headway even with the assistance of oars and poles: and 
this alternate interchange of ease and toil, according as you 
turn, is exceedingly amusing when one sails up and down 
merely for pleasure. The banks are well covered with ash 
and poplar, the shape &nd colour of the trees being as clearly 
and distinctly reflected in the stream as if they were actually 
sunk in it. The water is cold as snow, and as white too. 
Near it stands an ancient and venerable temple, in which is 
placed the river-god Clitumnus clothed in the usual robe 
of state ; and indeed the prophetic oracles here delivered suffi- 
ciently testify the immediate presence of that divinity. Sev- 
eral little chapels are scattered round, dedicated to particular 

^ Horn. II. lib. ix. v. 319. 


gods, distinguished each by his own peculiar name and form 
of worship, and some of them, too, presiding over different 
iountains. For, besides the principal spring, which is, as 
i: were, the parent of all the rest, there are several other 
lesser streams, which, taking their rise from various sources, 
bse themselves in the river; over which a bridge is built 
that separates the sacred part from that which lies open to 
common use. Vessels are allowed to come above this bridge, 
but no person is permitted to swim, except below it. The 
Hispellates, to whom Augustus gave this place, furnish a 
public bath, and likewise entertain all strangers, at their own 
expense. Several villas, attracted by the beauty of this 
river, stand about on its borders. In short, every surround- 
ing object will afford you entertainment. You may also 
amuse yourself with numberless inscriptions upon the pil- 
lars and walls, by different persons, celebrating the virtues 
of the fountain, and the divinity that presides over it. 
Many of them you will admire, while some will make you 
laugh ; but I must correct myself when I say so ; you are too 
humane, I know, to laugh upon such an occasion. Farewell. 


To Aristo 

As you are no less acquainted with the political laws of 
your country (which include the customs and usages of the 
senate) than with the civil, I am particularly desirous to have 
your opinion whether I was mistaken in an affair which 
lately came before the house, or not. This I request, not 
with a view of being directed in my judgment as to what 
is passed (for that is now too late), but in order to know 
how to act in any possible future case of the kind. You will, 
ask, perhaps, "Why do you apply for information concerning 
a point on which you ought to be well instructed ?" Because 
the tyranny of former reigns,^ as it introduced a neglect and 
ignorance of all other parts of useful knowledge, so par- 
ticularly of what relates to the customs of the senate; for 
who is there so tamely industrious as to desire to learn what 
he can never have an opportunity of putting in practice? 

1 Those of Nero and Domitian. M. 

336 PLINY 

Besides, it is not very easy to retain even the knowledge 
one has acquired where no opportunity of employing it 
occurs. Hence it was that Liberty, on her return^ found us 
totally ignorant and inexperienced; and thus in the warmth 
of our eagerness to taste her sweets, we are sometimes hur- 
ried on to action, ere we are well instructed how we ought 
to act. But by the institution of our ancestors, it was wisely 
provided that the young should learn from the old, not only 
by precept, but by their own observation, how to behave in 
that sphere in which they were one day themselves to move ; 
while these, again, in their turn, transmitted the same mode 
of instruction to their children. Upon this principle it was 
that the youth were sent early into the army, that by being 
taught to obey they might learn to command, and, whilst 
they followed others, might be trained by degrees to become 
leaders themselves. On the same principle, when they were 
candidates for any ofifice, they were obliged to stand at the 
door of the senate-house, and were spectators of the public 
council before they became members of it. The father of 
each youth was his instructor upon these occasions, or if 
he had none, some person of years and dignity supplied the 
place of a father. Thus they were taught by that surest 
method of discipline. Example; how far the right of propos- 
ing any law to the senate extended; what privileges a sen- 
ator had in delivering his opinion in the house ; the power of 
the magistrates in that assembly, and the rights of the rest 
of the members; where it is proper to yield, and where to 
insist; when and how long to speak, and when to be silent; 
how to make necessary distinctions between contrary opin- 
ions, and how to improve upon a former motion: in a word, 
they learnt by this means every senatorial usage. As for 
myself, it is true indeed, I served in the army when I was 
a youth; but it was at a time when courage was suspected, 
and want of spirit rewarded; when generals were without 
authority, and soldiers without modesty; when there was 
neither discipline nor obedience, but all was riot, disorder, 
and confusion; in short, when it was happier to forget than 
to remember what one learnt. I attended likewise in my youth 
the senate, but a senate shrinking and speechless; where it 
2 When Nerva and Trajan received the empire. M. 


was dangerous to utter one's opinion, and mean and pitiable 
to be silent. What pleasure was there in learning, or indeed 
what could be learnt, when the senate was convened either 
to do nothing whatever or to give their sanction to some 
consummate infamy ! when they were assembled either for 
cruel or ridiculous purposes, and when their deliberations 
were never serious, though often sad ! But I was not only 
a witness to this scene of wretchedness, as a spectator ; I bore 
my share of it too as a senator, and both saw and suffered 
under it for many years; which so broke and damped my 
spirits that they have not even yet been able fully to recover 
themselves. It is within quite recently (for all time seems 
short in proportion to its happiness) that we could take any 
pleasure in knowing what relates to or in setting about the 
duties of our station. Upon these considerations, therefore, 
I may the more reasonably entreat you, in the first place, 
to pardon my error (if I have been guilty of one), and, in 
the next, to lead me out of it by your superior knowledge: 
for you have always been diligent to examine into the con- 
stitution of your country, both with respect to its public and 
private, its ancient and modern, its general and special laws. 
I am persuaded indeed the point upon which I am going to 
consult you is such an unusual one that even those whose 
great experience in public business must have made them, one 
would have naturally supposed, acquainted with everything 
were either doubtful or absolutely ignorant upon it. I shall 
be more excusable, therefore, if I happen to have been mis- 
taken; as you will earn the higher praise if you can set me 
right in an affair which it is not clear has ever yet fallen 
within your observation. The enquiry then before the house 
was concerning the freedmen of Afranius Dexter, who be- 
ing found murdered, it was uncertain whether he fell by his 
own hands, or by those of his household; and if the latter, 
whether they committed the fact in obedience to the com- 
mands of Afranius, or were prompted to it by their own vil- 
lainy. After they had been put to the question, a certain 
senator (it is of no importance to mention his name, but 
if you are desirous to know, it was myself) was for acquit- 
ting them;; another proposed that they should be banished 
for a limited time ; and a third that they should suffer death. 

338 PLINY 

These several opinions were so extremely different that it 
was impossible either of them could stand with the other. 
For what have death and banishment in common with one 
another? Why, no more than banishment and acquittal 
have together. Though an acquittal approaches rather nearer 
a sentence of exile than a sentence of death does: for 
both the former agree at least in this that they spare life, 
whereas the latter takes it away. In the meanwhile, those 
senators who were for punishing with death, and those who 
proposed banishment, sate together on the same side of the 
house: and thus by a present appearance of unanimity sus- 
pended their real disagreement. I moved, therefore, that 
the votes for each of the three opinions should be separately 
taken, and that two of them should not, under favour of a 
short truce between themselves, join against the third. I 
insisted that such of the members who were for capital 
punishment should divide from the others who voted for 
banishment ; and that these two distinct parties should not be 
permitted to form themselves into a body, in opposition to 
those who declared for acquittal, when they would immedi- 
ately after disunite again: for it was not material that they 
agreed in disliking one proposal, since they differed with re- 
spect to the other two. It seemed very extraordinary that he 
who moved the freedmen should be banished, and the slaves 
suffer death, should not be allowed to join these two in one 
motion, but that each question should be ordered to be put to 
the house separately; and yet that the votes of one who was 
for inflicting capital punishment upon the freedmen should 
be taken together with that of one who was for banishing 
them. For if, in the former instance, it was reasonable that 
the motion should be divided, because it comprehended two 
distinct propositions, I could not see why, in the latter case, 
suffrages so extremely different should be thrown into the 
same scale. Permit me, then, notwithstanding the point is 
already settled, to go over it again as if it were still unde- 
cided, and to lay before you those reasons at my ease, which 
I offered to the house in the midst of much interruption 
and clamour. Let us suppose there had been only three 
judges appointed to hear this cause, one of whom was 
of opinion that the parties in question deserved death; the 


Other that they should only be banished ; and the third that 
they ought to be acquitted: should the two former unite their 
weight to overpower the latter, or should each be separately 
balanced? For the first and second are no more compatible 
than the second and third. They ought therefore in the 
same manner to be counted in the senate as contrary opin- 
ions, since they were delivered as different ones. Suppose 
the same person had moved that they should both have been 
banished and put to death, could they possibly, in pursuance 
of this opinion, have suffered both punishments? Or could 
it have been looked upon as one consistent motion when it 
united two such different decisions? Why then should the 
same opinion, when delivered by distinct persons, be con- 
sidered as one and entire, which would not be deemed so 
if it were proposed by a single man? Does not the law 
manifestly imply that a distinction is to be made between 
those who are for a capital conviction, and those who are 
for banishment, in the very form of words made use of 
when the house is ordered to divide? You who are of such 
an opinion, come to this side; you who are of any other, go 
over to the side of him whose opinion you follow. Let us 
examine this form, and weigh every sentence: You who 
arc of this opinion: that is, for instance, you who are for 
banishment, come on this side; namely, on the side of him 
who moved for banishment. From whence it is clear he 
cannot remain on this side of those who are for death. You 
who are for any other: observe, the law is not content with 
barely saying another, but it adds any. Now can there be 
a doubt as to whether they who declare for a capital convic- 
tion are of any other opinion than those who propose exile ! 
Go over to the side of him whose opinion you follow: does 
not the law seem, as it were, to call, compel, drive over, 
those who are of different opinions, to contrary sides? Does 
not the consul himself point out, not only by this solemn 
form of words, but by his hand and gesture, the place in 
which every man is to remain, or to which he is to go 
over? " But," it is objected, " if this separation is made be- 
tween those who vote for inflicting death, and those who 
are on the side of exile, the opinion for acquitting the pris- 
oners must necessarily prevail." But how does that affect the 

340 PLINY 

parties who vote ? Certainly it does not become them to con- 
tend by every art, and urge every expediment, that the 
milder sentence may not take place. " Still," say they, " those 
who are for condemning the accused either capitally or to 
banishment should be first set in opposition to those who 
are for acquitting them, and afterwards weighed against 
each other." Thus, as, in certain public games, some par- 
ticular combatant is set apart by lot and kept to engage 
with the conqueror; so, it seems, in the senate there is a 
first and second combat, and of two different opinions, the 
prevailing one has still a third to contend with. What? 
when any particular opinion is received, do not all the rest 
fall of course? Is it reasonable, then, that one should be 
thrown into the scale merely to weigh down another? To 
express my meaning more plainly: unless the two parties 
who are respectively for capital punishment and exile im- 
mediately separate upon the first division of the house it 
would be to no purpose afterwards to dissent from those 
with whom they joined before. But I am dictating instead 
of receiving instruction. — Tell me then whether you think 
these votes should have been taken separately? My mo- 
tion, it is true, prevailed; nevertheless I am desirous to 
know whether you think I ought to have insisted upon 
this point, or have yielded as that member did who de- 
clared for capital punishment? For convinced, I will not 
say of the legality, but at least of the equity of my propo- 
sal, he receded from his opinion, and went over to the 
party for exile: fearing perhaps, if the votes were taken 
separately (which he saw would be the case), the f reed- 
men would be acquitted : for the numbers were far greater on 
that side than on either of the other two, separately counted. 
The consequence was that those who had been influenced by 
his authority, when they saw themselves forsaken by his 
going over to the other party, gave up a motion which they 
found abandoned by the first proposer, and deserted, as it 
were, with their leader. Thus the three opinions were re- 
solved at length into two; and of those two, one prevailed, 
and the other was rejected; while the third, as it was not 
powerful enough to conquer both the others, had only to 
choose to which of the two it would yield. Farewell. 



To Paternus 

The sickness lately in my family, which has carried off 
several of my servants, some of them, too, in the prime of 
their years, has been a great affliction to me. I have two 
consolations, however, which, though by no means equiva- 
lent to such a grief, still are consolations. One is, that as 
I have always readily manumitted my slaves, their death 
does not seem altogether immature, if they lived long enough 
to receive their freedom: the other, that I have allowed 
them to make a kind of will,^ which I observe as religiously 
as if they were legally entitled to that privilege. I receive 
and obey their last requests and injunctions as so many 
authoritative commands, suffering them to dispose of their 
effects to whom they please ; with this single restriction, 
that they leave them to some one in my household, for 
to slaves the house they are in is a kind of state and com- 
monwealth, so to speak. But though I endeavor to ac- 
quiesce under these reflections, yet the same tenderness 
which led me to show them these indulgences weakens and 
gets the better of me. However, I would not wish on that 
account to become harder : though the generality of the world, 
I know, look upon losses of this kind in no other view than 
as a diminution of their property, and fancy, by cherishing 
such an unfeeling temper, they show a superior fortitude 
and philosophy. Their fortitude and philosophy I will not 
dispute. But humane, I am sure, they are not; for it is the 
very criterion of true manhood to feel those impressions of 
sorrow which it endeavors to resist, and to admit not to 
be above the want of consolation. But perhaps I have de- 
tained you too long upon this subject, though not so long 
as I would. There is a certain pleasure even in giving 
vent to one's grief ; especially when we weep on the bosom 
of a friend who will approve, or, at least, pardon, our tears. 

^ A slave could acquire no property, and consequently was incapable by 
law of making a will. M. 

342 PLINY 


To Macrinus 

Is the weather with you as rude and boisterous as it is 
with us? All here is in tempest and inundation. The Ti- 
ber has swelled its channel, and overflowed its banks far 
and wide. Though the wise precaution of the emperor 
had guarded against this evil, by cutting several outlets 
to the river, it has nevertheless flooded all the fields and 
valleys and entirely overspread the whole face of the flat 
country. It seems to have gone out to meet those rivers 
which it used to receive and carry off in one united stream, 
and has driven them back to deluge those countries it could 
not reach itself. That most delightful of rivers, the Anio, 
which seems invited and detained in its course by the villas 
built along its banks, has almost entirely rooted up and 
carried away the woods which shaded its borders. It has 
overthrown whole mountains, and, in endeavouring to find 
a passage through the mass of ruins that obstructed its way, 
has forced down houses, and risen and spread over the de- 
solation it has occasioned. The inhabitants of the hill coun- 
tries, who are situated above the reach of this inundation, 
have been the melancholy spectators of its dreadful effects, 
having seen costly furniture, instruments of husbandry, 
ploughs, and oxen with their drivers, whole herds of cattle, 
together with the trunks of trees, and beams of the neigh- 
bouring villas, floating about in different parts. Nor indeed 
have these higher places themselves, to which the waters 
could not reach up, escaped the calamity. A continued 
heavy rain and tempestuous hurricane, as destructive as 
the river itself, poured down upon them, and has destroyed 
all the enclosures which divided that fertile country. It 
has damaged likewise, and even overturned, some of the 
public buildings, by the fall of which great numbers have 
been maimed, smothered, bruised. And thus lamentation 
over the fate of friends has been added to losses. I am 
extremely uneasy lest this extensive ruin should have spread 
to you; I beg therefore, if it has not, you will immediately 
relieve my anxiety; and indeed I desire you would inform 



me though it should have done so; for the difference is 
not great between fearing a danger, and feeling it; except 
that the evil one feels has some bounds, whereas one's ap- 
prehensions have none. For we can suffer no more than 
what actually has happened but we fear all that possibly 
could happen. Farewell. 



The common notion is certainly quite a false one, that 
a man's will is a kind of mirror in which we may clearly 
discern his real character, for Domitius Tullus appears a 
much better man since his death than he did during his 
lifetime. After having artfully encouraged the expectations 
of those who paid court to him, with a view to being his 
heirs, he has left his estate to his niece whom he adopted. 
He has given likewise several very considerable legacies 
among his grandchildren, and also to his great-grandson. 
In a word, he has shown himself a most kind relation 
throughout his whole will ; which is so much the more to 
be admired as it was not expected of him. This affair has 
been very much talked about, and various opinions ex- 
pressed: some call him false, ungrateful, and forgetful, and, 
while thus railing at him in this way as if they were actually 
disinherited kindred, betray their own dishonest designs: 
others, on the contrary, applaud him extremely for having 
disappointed the hopes of this infamous tribe of men, whom, 
considering the disposition of the times, it is but prudence to 
deceive. They add that he was not at liberty to make any 
other will, and that he cannot so properly be said to have 
bequeathed, as returned, his estate to his adopted daughter, 
since it was by her means it came to him. For Curtilius 
Mancia, whose daughter Domitius Lucanus, brother to this 
Tullus, married, having taken a dislike to his son-in-law, 
made this young lady (who was the issue of that marriage) 
his heiress, upon condition that Lucanus her father would 
emancipate her. He accordingly did so, but she being after- 
wards adopted by Tullus, her uncle, the design of Mancia's 
will was entirely frustrated. For these two brothers having 

344 PLINY 

never divided their patrimony, but living together as joint- 
tenants of one common estate, the daughter of Lucanus, not- 
withstanding the act of emancipation, returned back again, 
together with her large fortune, under the dominion of her 
father, by means of this fraudulent adoption. It seems in- 
deed to have been the fate of these two brothers to be en- 
riched by those who had the greatest aversion to them. For 
Domitius Afer, by whom they were adopted, left a will in 
their favour, which he had made eighteen years before his 
death; though it was plain he had since altered his opinion 
with regard to the family, because he was instrumental in 
procuring the confiscation of their father's estate. There is 
something extremely singular in the resentment of Afer, and 
the good fortune of the other two; as it was very extraordi- 
nary, on the one hand, that Domitius should endeavour to 
extirpate from the privileges of society a man whose chil- 
dren he had adopted, and, on the other, that these brothers 
should find a parent in the very person that ruined their 
father. But Tullus acted justly, after having been appointed 
sole heir by his brother, in prejudice to his own daughter, to 
make her amends by transferring to her this estate, which 
came to him from Afer, as well as all the rest which he had 
gained in partnership with his brother. His will there- 
fore deserves the higher praise, having been dictated by 
nature, justice, and sense of honour; in which he has 
returned his obligations to his several relations, according 
to their respective good offices towards him, not forgetting 
his wife, having bequeathed to that excellent woman, who 
patiently endured much for his sake, several delightful 
villas, besides a large sum of money. And indeed she de- 
served so much the more at his hands, in proportion to the 
displeasure she incurred on her marriage with him. It was 
thought unworthy a person of her birth and repute, so long 
left a widow by her former husband, by whom she had issue, 
to marry, in the decline of her life, an old man, merely for 
his wealth, and who was so sickly and infirm that, even had 
he passed the best years of his youth and health with her, 
she might well have been heartily tired of him. He had 
so entirely lost the use of all his limbs that he could not 
move himself in bed without assistance; and the only enjoy- 


ment he had of his riches was to contemplate them. He 
was even (sad and disgusting to relate) reduced to the 
necessity of having his teeth washed and scrubbed by others ; 
in alhision to which he used frequently to say, when he was 
complaining of the indignities which his infirmities obliged 
him to suffer, that he was every day compelled to lick his 
servant's fingers. Still, however, he lived on, and was will- 
ing to accept of life upon such terms. That he lived so long 
as he did was particularly owing, indeed, to the care of his 
wife, who, whatever reputation she might lose at first by her 
marriage, acquired great honour by her unwearied devotion 
as his wife. — Thus I have given you all the news of the 
town, where nothing is talked of but Tullus. It is expected 
his curiosities will shortly be sold by auction. He had such 
an abundant collection of very old statues that he actually 
filled an extensive garden with them, the very same day he 
purchased it; not to mention numberless other antiques, 
lying neglected in his lumber-room. If you have anything 
worth telling me in return, I hope you will not refuse the 
trouble of writing to me: not only as we are all of us natu- 
rally fond, you know, of news, but because example has a 
very beneficial influence upon our own conduct. Farewell. 


To Gallus 

Tpiose works of art or nature which are usually the 
motives of our travels are often overlooked and neglected if 
they lie within our reach: whether it be that we are nat- 
urally less inquisitive concerning those things which are near 
us, while our curiosity is excited by remote objects ; or because 
the easiness of gratifying a desire is always sure to damp it; 
or, perhaps, that we put off from time to time going and 
seeing what we know we have an opportunity of seeing when 
we please. Whatever the reason be, it is certain there are 
numberless curiosities in and near Rome which we have not 
only never seen, but even never so much as heard of: and 
yet had they been the produce of Greece, or Egypt, or Asia, 
or any other country which we admire as fertile and pro- 

346 PLINY 

ductive of belief in wonders, we should long since have 
heard of them, read of them, and enquired into them. For 
myself at least, I confess, I have lately been entertained with 
one of these curiosities, to which I was an entire stranger 
before. My wife's grandfather desired I would look over 
his estate near Ameria.^ As I was walking over his grounds, 
I was shown a lake that lies below them, called Vadimon,' 
about which several very extraordinary things are told. I 
went up to this lake. It is perfectly circular in form, like a 
wheel lying on the ground; there is not the least curve or 
projection of the shore, but all is regular, even, and just as 
if it had been hollowed and cut out by the hand of art. The 
water is of a clear sky-blue, though with somewhat of a 
greenish tinge ; its smell is sulphurous, and its flavour has 
medicinal properties, and is deemed of great efficacy in all 
fractures of the limbs, which it is supposed to heal. Though 
of but moderate extent, yet the winds have a great effect upon 
it, throwing it into violent agitation. No vessels are suffered 
to sail here, as its waters are held sacred; but several float- 
ing islands swim about it, covered with reeds and rushes, 
and with whatever other plants the surrounding marshy 
ground and the edge itself of the lake produce in greater 
abundance. Each island has its peculiar shape and size, but 
the edges of all of them are worn away by their frequent 
collision with the shore and one another. They are all of 
the same height and motion; as their respective roots, which 
are formed like the keel of a boat, may be seen hanging not 
very far down in the water, and at an equal depth, on 
whichever side you stand. Sometimes they move in a 
cluster, and seem to form one entire little continent; some- 
times they are dispersed into different quarters by the wind; 
at other times, when it is calm, they float up and down 
separately. You may frequently see one of the larger 
islands sailing along with a lesser joined to it, like a ship 
with its long boat; or, perhaps, seeming to strive which 
shall out-swim the other: then again they are all driven to 
the same spot, and by joining themselves to the shore, 
sometimes on one side and sometimes on the other, lessen 

* Now called Amelia, a town in Ombria. M. 
s Now Laghetto di Bassano. M. 


or restore the size of the lake in this part or that, accord- 
ingly, till at last uniting in the centre they restore it to its 
usual size. The sheep which graze upon the borders of this 
lake frequently go upon these islands to feed, without per- 
ceiving that they have left the shore, until they are alarmed 
by finding themselves surrounded with water; as though 
they had been forcibly conveyed and placed there. After- 
wards, when the wind drives them back again, they as little 
perceive their return as their departure. This lake empties 
itself into a river, which, after running a little way, sinks 
under ground, and, if anything is thrown in, it brings it up 
again where the stream emerges. — I have given you this 
account because I imagined it would not be less new, nor 
less agreeable, to you than it was to me; as I know you 
take the same pleasure as myself in contemplating the 
works of nature. Farewell. 


To Arrianus 

Nothing, in my opinion, gives a more amiable and be- 
coming grace to our studies, as well as manners, than to 
temper the serious with the gay, lest the former should 
degenerate into melancholy, and the latter run up into 
levity. Upon this plan it is that I diversify my graver 
works with compositions of a lighter nature. I had chosen 
a convenient place and season for some productions of that 
sort to make their appearance in; and designing to ac- 
custom them early to the tables of the idle, I fixed upon 
the month of July, which is usually a time of vacation to 
the courts of justice, in order to read them to some of 
my friends I had collected together; and accordingly I 
placed a desk before each couch. But as I happened that 
morning to be unexpectedly called away to attend a cause, 
I took occasion to preface my recital with an apology. I 
entreated my audience not to impute it to me as any want 
of due regard for the business to which I had invited them 
that on the very day I had appointed for reading my per- 
formances to a small circle of my friends I did not refuse 
my services to others in their law affairs. I assured them 

348 PLINY 

I would observe the same rule in my writings, and should 
always give the preference to business, before pleasure; 
to serious engagements before amusing ones; and to my 
friends before myself. The poems I recited consisted of a 
variety of subjects in different metres. It is thus that we 
who dare not rely for much upon our abilities endeavour 
to avoid satiating our readers. In compliance with the 
earnest solicitation of my audience, I recited for two days 
successively; but not in the manner that several practise, 
by passing over the feebler passages, and making a merit 
of so doing: on the contrary, I omitted nothing, and freely 
confessed it. I read the whole, that I might correct the 
whole; which it is impossible those who only select particu- 
lar passages can do. The latter method, indeed, may have 
more the appearance of modesty, and perhaps respect; but 
the former shows greater simplicity, as well as a more affec- 
tionate disposition towards the audience. For the belief 
that a man's friends have so much regard for him as not 
to be weary on these occasions, is a sure indication of the 
love he bears them. Otherwise, what good do friends do 
you who assemble merely for their own. amusement? He 
who had rather find his friend's performance correct, than 
make it so, is to be regarded as a stranger, or one who is 
too lackadaisical to give himself any trouble. Your affection 
for me leaves me no room to -doubt that you are impatient 
to read my book, even in its present very imperfect condi- 
tion. And so you shall, but not until I have made those 
corrections which were the principal inducement of my 
recital. You are already acquainted with some parts of it; 
but even those, after they have been improved (or perhaps 
spoiled, as is sometimes the case by the delay of excessive 
revision) will seem quite new to you. For when a piece 
has undergone various changes, it gets to look new, even 
in those very parts which remain unaltered. Farewell. 



To Maximus 

My affection for you obliges me, not indeed to direct 
you (for you are far above the want of a guide), but to 
admonish you carefully to observe and resolutely to put in 
practice what you already know, that is, in other words, 
to know it to better purpose. Consider that you are sent 
to that noble province, Achaia, the real and genuine Greece, 
where politeness, learning, and even agriculture itself, are 
supposed to have taken their first rise; sent to regulate the 
condition of free cities; sent, that is, to a society of men 
who breathe the spirit of true manhood and liberty; who 
have maintained the rights they received from Nature, by 
courage, by virtue, by alliances; in a word, by civil and 
religious faith. Revere the gods their founders; their 
ancient glory, and even that very antiquity itself which, 
venerable in men, is sacred in states. Honour them there- 
fore for their deeds of old renown, nay, their very legendary 
traditions. Grant to every one his full dignity, privileges, 
yes, and the indulgence of his very vanity. Remember it 
was from this nation we derived our laws; that she did 
not receive ours by conquest, but gave us hers by favour. 
Remember, it is Athens to which you go; it is Lacedaemon 
you govern; and to deprive such a people of the declining 
shadow, the remaining name of liberty, would be cruel, in- 
human, barbarous. Physicians, you see, though in sickness 
there is no difference between freedom and slavery, yet treat 
persons of the former rank with more tenderness than those 
of the latter. Reflect what these cities once were; but so 
reflect as not to despise them for what they are now. Far 
be pride and asperity from my friend; nor fear, by a proper 
condescension, to lay yourself open to contempt. Can he 
who is vested with the power and bears the ensigns of 
authority, can he fail of meeting with respect, unless by 
pursuing base and sordid measures, and first breaking 
through that reverence he owes to himself? Ill, believe 
me, is power proved by insult; ill can terror command 
veneration, and far more effectual is affection in obtaining 

350 PLINY 

one's purpose than fear. For terror operates no longer 
than its object is present, but love produces its effects with 
its object at a distance: and as absence changes the former 
into hatred, it raises the latter into respect. And therefore 
you ought (and I cannot but repeat it too often), you 
ought to well consider the nature of your office, and to 
represent to yourself how great and important the task is 
of governing a free state. For what can be better for society 
than such government, what can be more precious than 
freedom? How ignominious then must his conduct be who 
turns good government into anarchy, and liberty into 
slavery? To these considerations let me add, that you 
have an estabHshed reputation to maintain: the fame you 
acquired by the administration of the quaestorship in 
Bithynia,^ the good opinion of the emperor, the credit you 
obtained when you were tribune and praetor, in a word, 
this very government, which may be looked upon as the 
reward of your former services, are all so many glorious 
weights which are incumbent upon you to support with 
suitable dignity. The more strenuously therefore you ought 
to endeavour that it may not be said you showed greater 
urbanity, integrity, and ability in a province remote from 
Rome, than in one which lies so much nearer the capital; 
in the midst of a nation of slaves, than among a free peo- 
ple; that it may not be remarked, that it was chance, and 
not judgment, appointed you to this office; that your char- 
acter was unknown and unexperienced, not tried and ap- 
proved. For (and it is a maxim which your reading and 
conversation must have often suggested to you) it is a far 
greater disgrace losing the name one has once acquired 
than never to have attained it. I again beg you to be per- 
suaded that I did not write this letter with a design of 
instruction, but of reminder. Though indeed, if I had, it 
would have only been in consequence of the great affection 
I bear you: a sentiment which I am in no fear of carrying 
beyond its just bounds: for there can be no danger of excess 
where one cannot love too well. Farewell. 

^ A province in Anatolia, or Asia Minor. M. 



To Paulinus 

Others may think as they please; but the happiest man, 
in my opinion, is he who lives in the conscious anticipa- 
tion of an honest and enduring; name, and secure of future 
glory in the eyes of posterity. I confess, if I had not the 
reward of an immortal reputation in view, I should prefer 
a life of uninterrupted ease and indolent retirement to any 
other. There seems to be two points worthy every man's 
attention: endless fame, or the short duration of life. 
Those who are actuated by the former motive ought to 
exert themselves to the very utmost of their power; while 
such as are influenced by the latter should quietly resign 
themselves to repose, and not wear out a short life in 
perishable pursuits, as we see so many doing — and then 
sink at last into utter self-contempt, in the midst of a 
wretched and fruitless course of false industry. These 
are my daily reflections, which I communicate to you, in 
order to renounce them if you do not agree with them; as 
undoubtedly you will, who are for ever meditating some 
glorious and immortal enterprise. Farewell. 


To Calvisius 

I HAVE spent these several days past, in reading and 
writing, with the most pleasing tranquillity imaginable. You 
will ask, " How that can possibly be in the midst of Rome? " 
It was the time of celebrating the Circensian games; an 
entertainment for which I have not the least taste. They 
have no novelty, no variety to recommend them, nothing, in 
short, one would wish to see twice. It does the more sur- 
prise me therefore that so many thousand people should be 
possessed with the childish passion of desiring so often to 
see a parcel of horses gallop, and men standing upright in 
their chariots. If, indeed, it were the swiftness of the 
horses, or the skill of the men that attracted them, there 

352 PLINY 

might be some pretence of reason for it. But it is the 
dress^ they like; it is the dress that takes their fancy. And 
if, in the midst of the course and contest, the different 
parties were to change colours, their different partisans 
would change sides, and instantly desert the very same men 
and horses whom just before they were eagerly following 
with their eyes, as far as they could see, and shouting out 
their names with all their might. Such mighty charms, 
such wondrous power reside in the colour of a paltry tunic! 
And this not only with the common crowd (more con- 
temptible than the dress they espouse), but even with 
serious-thinking people. When I observe such men thus in- 
satiably fond of so silly, so low, so uninteresting, so common 
an entertainment, I congratulate myself on my indifference 
to these pleasures: and am glad to employ the leisure of 
this season upon my books, which others throw away upon 
the most idle occupations. Farewell. 



I AM pleased to find by your letter that you are engaged 
in building; for I may now defend my own conduct by 
your example. I am myself employed in the same sort of 
work; and since I have you, who shall deny I have reason 
on my side? Our situations too are not dissimilar; your 
buildings are carried on upon the sea-coast, mine are 
rising upon the side of the Larian lake. I have several 
villas upon the borders of this lake, but there are two 
particularly in which, as I take most delight, so they give 
me most employment. They are both situated like those at 
Baiae:^ one of them stands upon a rock, and overlooks the 

\ The performers at these games were divided into companies, distin- 
guished by the particular colour of their habits; the principal of which 
were the white, the red, the blue, and the green. Accordingly the spec- 
tators favoured one or the other colour, as humour and caprice inclined 
them. In the reign of Justinian a tumult arose in Constantinople, occa- 
sioned merely by a contention among the partisans of these several colours, 
wherein no less than 30,000 men lost their lives. M. 

^ Now called Castello di Baia, in Terra di Lavoro. It was the place the 
Romans chose for their winter retreat; and which they frequented upon 
account of its warm baths. Some few ruins of the beautiful villas that 
once covered this delightful coast still remain; and nothing can give one 


lake; the other actually touches it. The first, supported as 
it were by the lofty buskin,* I call my tragic; the other, 
as resting upon the humble rock, my comic villa. Each 
has its own peculiar charm, recommending it to its pos- 
sessor so much more on account of this very difference. 
The former commands a wider, the latter enjoys a nearer 
view of the lake. One, by a gentle curve, embraces a little 
bay ; the other, being built upon a greater height, forms two. 
Here you have a strait walk extending itself along the banks 
of the lake; there, a spacious terrace that falls by a gentle 
descent towards it. The former does not feel the force of 
the waves; the latter breaks them; from that you see the 
fishing-vessels; from this you may fish yourself, and throw 
your line out of your room, and almost from your bed, as 
from off a boat. It is the beauties therefore these agreeable 
villas possess that tempt me to add to them those which are 
wanting. — But I need not assign a reason to you; who, 
undoubtedly, will think it a sufficient one that I follow your 
example. Farewell. 


To Geminus 

Your letter was particularly acceptable to me, as it 
mentioned your desire that I would send you something of 
mine, addressed to you, to insert in your works. I shall find 
a more appropriate occasion of complying with your request 
than that which you propose, the subject you point out to 
me being attended with some objections; and when you re- 
consider it, you will think so. — As I did not imagine there 
were any booksellers at Lugdunum,* I am so much the more 
pleased to learn that my works are sold there. I rejoice 
to find they maintain the character abroad which they 

a higher idea of the prodigious expense and magnificence of the Romans 
in their private buildings tnan the manner in which some of these were 
situated. It appears from this letter, as well as from several other passages 
in the classic writers, that they actually projected into the sea, being 
erected upon vast piles sunk for that purpose. 

" The buskin was a kind of high shoe worn upon the stage by the actors 
of tragedy, in order to give them a more heroical elevation of stature; as 
the sock was something between a shoe and stocking, it was appropriated 
to the comic players. M. 

* Lyons. 

12 — HCIX 



raised at home, and I begin to flatter myself they have some 
merit, since persons of such distant countries are agreed 
in their opinion with regard to them. Farewell. 

To Junior 

A CERTAIN friend of mine lately chastised his son, in my 
presence, for being somewhat too expensive in the matter 
of dogs and horses. "And pray," I asked him, when the 
youth had left us, "did you never commit a fault yourself 
which deserved your father's correction? Did you never? 
I repeat. Nay, are you not sometimes even now guilty of 
errors which your son, were he in your place, might with 
equal gravity reprove? Are not all mankind subject to 
indiscretions? And have we not each of us our particular 
follies in which we fondly indulge ourselves?" 

The great affection I have for you induced me to set this 
instance of unreasonable severity before you — a caution not 
to treat your son with too much harshness and severity. 
Consider, he is but a boy, and that there was a time when 
you were so too. In exerting, therefore, the authority of a 
father, remember always that you are a man, and the parent 
of a man. Farewell. 



The pleasure and attention with which you read the 
vindication I published of Helvidius,^ has greatly raised 
your curiosity^ it seems, to be informed of those particulars 
relating to that affair, which are not mentioned in the 
defence; as you were too young to be present yourself at 
that transaction. When Domitian was assassinated, a 
glorious opportunity, I thought, offered itself to me of pur- 
suing the guilty, vindicating the injured, and advancing 

* He was accused of treason, under pretence that in a dramatic piece 
which he cornposed he had, in the characters of Paris and Oenone, reflected 
upon Domitian for divorcing his wife Domitia. Suet, in Vit. Domit. 
c. 10. M. 


rny own reputation. But amidst an infinite variety of the 
blackest crimes, none appeared to me more atrocious 
than that a senator, of praetorian dignity, and invested 
with the sacred character of a judge, should, even in the 
very senate itself, lay violent hands upon a member* of that 
body, one of consular rank, and who then stood arraigned 
before him. Besides this general consideration, I also hap- 
pened to be on terms of particular intimacy with Helvidius, 
as far as this was possible with one who, through fear of the 
times, endeavoured to veil the lustre of his fame, and his 
virtues, in obscurity and retirement. Arria likewise, and 
her daughter Fannia, who was mother-in-law to Helvidius, 
were in the number of my friends. But it was not so much 
private attachments as the honour of the public, a just in- 
dignation at the action, and the danger of the example if it 
should pass unpunished, that animated me upon the occa- 
sion. At the first restoration of liberty* every man singled 
out his own particular enemy (though it must be confessed, 
those only of a lower rank), and, in the midst of much 
clamour and confusion, no sooner brought the charge than 
procured the condemnation. But for myself, I thought it 
would be more reasonable and more effectual, not to take ad- 
vantage of the general resentment of the public, but to crush 
this criminal with the single weight of his own enormous guilt. 
When therefore the first heat of public indignation began 
to cool, and declining passion gave way to justice, though 
I was at that time under great affliction for the loss of my 
wife,* I sent to Anteia, the widow of Helvidius, and desired 
her to come to me, as my late misfortune prevented me 
from appearing in public. When she arrived, I said to her, 
"I am resolved not to suffer the injuries your husband has 
received, to pass unrevenged; let Arria and Fannia" (who 
were just returned from exile) "know this; and consider 
together whether you would care to join with me in the 
prosecution. Not that I want an associate, but I am not 
so jealous of my own glory as to refuse to share it with 

* Helvidius. , , e i\ • 

* Upon the accession of Nerva to the empire, after the death of Domi- 
tian. M. 

* Our author's first wife; of whom we have no particular account. After 
her death, he married his favourite Calpurnia. M. 

356 PLINY 

you in this affair.** She accordingly carried this message; 
and they all agreed to the proposal without the least hesita- 
tion. It happened very opportunely that the senate was to 
meet within three days. It was a general rule with me to 
consult, in all my affairs, with Corellius, a person of the 
greatest far-sightedness and wisdom this age has produced. 
However, in the present case, I relied entirely upon my own 
discretion, being apprehensive he would not approve of my 
design, as he was very cautious and deliberate. But though 
I did not previously take counsel with him (experience 
having taught me, never to do so with a person concerning 
a question we have already determined, where he has a 
right to expect that one shall be decided by his judgment), 
yet I could not forbear acquainting him with my resolution 
at the time I intended to carry it into execution. The 
senate being assembled, I came into the house, and begged 
I might have leave to make a motion; which I did in few 
words, and with general assent. When I began to touch 
upon the charge, and point out the person I intended to 
accuse (though as yet without mentioning him by name), 
I was attacked on all sides. "Let us know," exclaims one, 
"who is the subject of this informal motion?" "Who is it" 
(asked another) "that is thus accused, without acquainting 
the house with his name, and his crime?" "Surely" (added 
a third) "we who have survived the late dangerous times 
may expect now, at least, to remain in security." I heard 
all this with perfect calmness, and without being in the 
least alarmed. Such is the effect of conscious integrity; 
and so much difference is there with respect to inspiring 
confidence or fear, whether the world had only rather one 
should forbear a certain act, or absolutely condemn it. It 
would be too tedious to relate all that was advanced, by 
different parties, upon this occasion. At length the consul 
said, "You will be at liberty, Secundus, to propose what you 
think proper when your turn comes to give your opinion 
upon the order of the day."^ I replied, "You must allow 
me a liberty which you never yet refused to any ;" and so sat 

^ It is very remarkable that, when any senator was asked his opinion in 
the house, he had the privilege of speaking as long as he pleased upon 
any other affair before he came to the point in question. Aul. Gell. lib. 
tT. c. 10. M. 



down: when immediately the house went upon another busi- 
ness. In the meanwhile, one of my consular friends took 
me aside, and, with great earnestness telling me he thought 
I had carried on this affair with more boldness than pru- 
dence, used every method of reproof and persuasion to pre- 
vail with me to desist ; adding at the same time that I should 
certainly, if I persevered, render myself obnoxious to some 
future prince. "Be it so," I returned, "should he prove a 
bad one." Scarcely had he left me when a second came 
up: "Whatever," said he, "are you attempting? Why ever 
will you ruin yourself? Do you consider the risks you 
expose yourself to? Why will you presume too much on 
the present situation of public affairs, when it is so uncertain 
what turn they may hereafter take? You are attacking a 
man who is actually at the head of the treasury, and will 
shortly be consul. Besides, recollect what credit he has, 
and with what powerful friendships he is supported ?" Upon 
which he named a certain person, who (not without several 
strong and suspicious rumours) was then at the head of a 
powerful army in the east. I replied, 

" 'All I've foreseen, and oft in thought revolv'd ;" 

and am willing, if fate shall so decree, to suffer in an 
honest cause, provided I can draw vengeance down upon a 
most infamous one." The time for the members to give 
their opinions was now arrived. Domitius Apollinaris, the 
consul elect, spoke first; after him Fabricius Vejento, then 
Fabius Maximinus, Vettius Proculus next (who married my 
wife's mother, and who was the colleague of Fublicius 
Certus, the person on whom the debate turned), and last of 
all Ammius Flaccus. They all defended Certus, as if I had 
named him (though I had not yet so much as once men- 
tioned him), and entered upon his justifica'tion as if I had 
exhibited a specific charge. It is not necessary to repeat 
in this place what they respectively said, having given it all 
at length in their words in the speech above-mentioned. 
Avidius Quietus and Cornutus Tertullus answered them. 
The former observed, "that it was extremely unjust not 
to hear the complaints of those who thought themselves in- 

•Aeneid, lib. vi. v. 105. 

358 PLINY 

jured, and therefore that Arria and Fannia ought not to be 
denied the privilege of laying their grievances before the 
house; and that the point for the consideration of the 
senate was not the rank of the person, but the merit of the 

Then Cornutus rose up and acquainted the house, "that, as 
he was appointed guardian to the daughter of Helvidius by 
the consuls, upon the petition of her mother and her father- 
in-law, he felt himself compelled to fulfil the duty of his 
trust. In the execution of which, however, he would en- 
deavour to set some bounds to his indignation by following 
that great example of moderation which those excellent^ 
women^ had set, who contented themselves with barely in- 
forming the senate of the cruelties which Certus committed 
in order to carry on his infamous adulation; and there- 
fore," he said, "he would move only that, if a punishment 
due to a crime so notoriously known should be remitted, 
Certus might at least be branded with some mark of the 
displeasure of that august assembly." Satrius Rufus spoke 
next, and, meaning to steer a middle course, expressed him-' 
self with considerable ambiguity. "I am of opinion," said 
he, "that great injustice will be done to Certus if he is 
not acquitted (for I do not scruple to mention his name, 
since the friends of Arria and Fannia, as well as his own, 
have done so too), nor indeed have we any occasion for 
anxiety upon this account. We who think well of the man 
shall judge him with the same impartiality as the rest; but 
if he is innocent, as I hope he is, and shall be glad to find, I 
think this house may very justly deny the present motion 
till some charge has been proved against him." Thus, ac- 
cording to the respective order in which they were called 
upon, they delivered their several opinions. When it came 
to my turn, I rose up, and, using the same introduction to 
my speech as I have published in the defence, I replied to 
them severally. It is surprising with what attention, what 
clamorous applause I was heard, even by those who just 
before were loudest against me: such a wonderful change 
was wrought either by the importance of the afifair, the 
successful progress of the speech, or the resolution of the 

'Arria and Fannia. 


advocate. After I had finished, Vejento attempted to reply; 
but the general clamour raised against him not permitting 
him to go on, " I entreat you, conscript fathers,"^ said he, 
" not to oblige me to implore the assistance of the tribunes."* 
Immediately the tribune Murena cried out, "You have my 
permission, most illustrious Vejento, to go on." But still 
the clamour was renewed. In the interval, the consul 
ordered the house to divide, and having counted the voices, 
dismissed the senate, leaving Vejento in the midst, still 
attempting to speak. He made great complaints of this 
affront (as he called it), applying the following lines of 
Homer to himself: 

"Great perils, father, wait the unequal fight; 
Those younger champions will thy strength o'ercome."^" 

There was hardly a man in the senate that did not embrace 
and kiss me, and all strove who should applaud me most, 
for having, at the cost of private enmities, revived a custom 
so long disused, of freely consulting the senate upon affairs 
that concern the honour of the public ; in a word, for having 
wiped off that reproach which was thrown upon it by other 
orders in the state, " that the senators mutually favoured 
the members of their own body, while they were very severe 
in animadverting upon the rest of their fellow-citizens." 
All this was transacted in the absence of Certus; who kept 
out of the way either because he suspected something of 
this nature was intended to be moved, or (as was alleged in 
his excuse) that he was really unwell. Caesar, however, 
did not refer the examination of this matter to the senate. 
But I succeeded, nevertheless, in my aim, another person 
being appointed to succeed Certus in the consulship, while 
the election of his colleague to that office was confirmed. 
And thus, the wish with which I concluded my speech, was 
actually accomplished: "May he be obliged," said I, "to re- 
nounce, under a virtuous prince," that reward he received 

* The appellation by which the senate was addressed. M, 

® The tribunes were magistrates chosen at first out of the body of the 
commons, for the defence of their liberties, and to interpose in all griey- 
ances offered by their superiors. Their authority extended even to the 
deliberations of the senate. M. 

^*> Diomed's speech to Nestor, advising him to retire from the field of 
battle. Iliad, viii. 102. Pope. M. 

"■ Nerva. 



from an infamous one ! "" Some time after I recollected, 
as well as I could, the speech I had made upon this oc- 
casion; to which I made several additions. It happened 
(though indeed it had the appearance of being something 
more than casual) that a few days after I had published 
this piece, Certus was taken ill and died. I was told that 
his imagination was continually haunted with this affair, and 
kept picturing me ever before his eyes, as a man pursuing 
him with a drawn sword. Whether there was any truth in 
this rumour, I will not venture to assert; but, for the sake 
of example, however, I could wish it might gain credit. And 
now I have sent you a letter which (considering it is a 
letter) is as long as the defence you say you have read: but 
you must thank yourself for not being content with such 
information as that piece could afford you. Farewell. 


To Genitor 

I HAVE received your letter, in which you complain of 
having been highly disgusted lately at a very splendid 
entertainment, by a set of buffoons, mummers, and wanton 
prostitutes, who were dancing about round the tables.^ But 
let me advise you to smooth your knitted brow somewhat. 
I confess, indeed, I admit nothing of this kind at my own 
house; however, I bear with it in others. "And why, 
then," you will be ready to ask, "not have them yourself?" 

^2 Domitian ; by whom he had been appointed consul elect, though he had 
not yet entered upon that office. M. 

^ These persons were introduced at most of the tables of the great, for 
the_ purposes of mirth and gaiety, and constituted an essential part in all 
polite entertainments among the Romans. It is surprising how soon this 
great people fell off from their original severity of manners, and were 
tainted with the stale refinements of foreign luxury. Livy dates the rise 
of this and other unmanly delicacies from the conquest of Scipio Asiaticus 
over Antiochus; that is, when the Roman name had scarce subsisted above 
a hundred and threescore years. " Luxuriae peregrinae origio," says he, 
" exercitu Asiatico in urbetn invecta est." This triumphant army caught, 
it seems, the contagious softness of the people it subdued; and, on its 
return to Rome, spread an infection among their countrymen, which worked 
by slow degrees, till it effected their total destruction. Thus did Eastern 
luxury revenge itself on Roman arms. It may be wondered that Pliny 
should keep his own temper, and check the indignation of his friends at 
a scene which was fit only for the dissolute revels of the infamous Tri- 
malchio. But it will not, perhaps, be doing justice to our author to take 
an estimate of his real sentiments upon this point from the letter before 


The truth is, because the gestures of the wanton, the 
pleasantries of the buffoon, or the extravagancies of the 
mummer, give me no pleasure, as they give me no surprise. 
It is my particular taste, you see, not my judgment, that I 
plead against them. And indeed, what numbers are there 
who think the entertainments with which you and I are 
most delighted no better than impertinent follies ! How 
many are there who, as soon as a reader, a lyrist^ or a 
comedian is introduced, either take their leave of the com- 
pany or, if they remain, show as much dislike to this sort 
of thing as you did to those moiuters, as you call them! 
Let us bear therefore, my friend, with others in their 
amusements, that they, in return, may show indulgence 
to ours. Farewell. 


To Sabinianus 

Your freedman, whom you lately mentioned to me with 
displeasure, has been with me, and threw himself at my 
feet with as much submission as he could have fallen at 
yours. He earnestly requested me with many tears, and 
even with all the eloquence of silent sorrow, to intercede 
for him; in short, he convinced me by his whole behaviour 
that he sincerely repents of his fault. I am persuaded he 
is thoroughly reformed, because he seems deeply sensible 
of his guilt. I know you are angry with him, and I know, 
too, it is not without reason; but clemency can never exert 
itself more laudably than when there is the most cause 
for resentment. You once had an affection for this man, 
and, I hope, will have again; meanwhile, let me only prevail 
with you to pardon him. If he should incur your displeasure 
hereafter, you will have so much the stronger plea in 
excuse for your anger as you show yourself more merciful 

us. Genitor, it seems, was a man of strict, but rather of too austere morals 
for the free turn of the age: " emendatus et gravis: paulo etiam horridior 
et durior ut in hoc licentia temporum" (Ep. iii. 1. 3). But as there is a 
certain seasonable accommodation to the manners of the times, not only 
extremely consistent with, but highly conducive to, the interests of virtue, 
Pliny, probably, may affect a greater latitude than he in general approved, 
in order to draw off his friend from that stiffness and unyielding disposition 
which might prejudice those of a gayer turn against him, and consequently 
lessen the beneficial influence of his virtues upon the world. M. 

382 PLINY 

to him now. Concede something to his youth, to his tears, 
and to your own natural mildness of temper: do not make 
him uneasy any longer, and I will add too, do not make 
yourself so; for a man of your kindness of heart cannot be 
angry without feeling great uneasiness. I am afraid, were 
I to join my entreaties with his, I should seem rather to 
compel than request you to forgive him. Yet I will not 
scruple even to write mine with his; and in so much the 
stronger terms as I have very sharply and severely reproved 
him, positively threatening never to interpose again in his 
behalf. But though it was proper to say this to him, in 
order to make him more fearful of offending, I do not say 
so to you. I may perhaps, again have occasion to entreat 
you upon this account, and again obtain your forgiveness; 
supposing, I mean, his fault should be such as may become 
me to intercede for, and you to pardon. Farewell. 


To Maximus 

It has frequently happened, as I have been pleading before 
the Court of the Hundred, that these venerable judges, 
after having preserved for a long period the gravity and 
solemnity suitable to their character, have suddenly, as 
though urged by irresistible impulse, risen up to a man and 
applauded me. I have often likewise gained as much glory 
in the senate as my utmost wishes could desire: but I never 
felt a more sensible pleasure than by an account which I 
lately received from Cornelius Tacitus. He informed me 
that, at the last Circensian games, he sat next to a Roman 
knight, who, after conversation had passed between them 
upon various points of learning, asked him, "Are you an 
Italian, or a provincial?" Tacitus replied, "Your acquaint- 
ance with literature must surely have informed you who I 
am." "Pray, then, is it Tacitus or Pliny I am talking 
with?" I cannot express how highly I am pleased to find 
that our names are not so much the proper appellatives of 
men as a kind of distinction for learning herself; and that 
eloquence renders us known to those who would otherwise 


be ignorant of us. An accident of the same kind happened to 
me a few days ago. Fabius Rufinus, a person of distin- 
guished merit, was placed next to me at table; and below 
him a countryman of his, who had just then come to Rome 
for the first time. Rufinus, calling his friend's attention to 
me, said to him, " You see this man ? " and entered into a con- 
versation upon the subject of my pursuits: to whom the 
other immediately replied, " This must undoubtedly be 
Pliny." To confess the truth, I look upon these instances 
as a very considerable recompense of my labours. If De- 
mosthenes had reason to be pleased with the old woman of 
Athens crying out, " This is Demosthenes ! " may not I, then, 
be allowed to congratulate myself upon the celebrity my name 
has acquired? Yes, my friend, I will rejoice in it, and with- 
out scruple admit that I do. As I only mention the judgment 
of others, not my own, I am not afraid of incurring the 
censure of vanity; especially from you, who, whilst envying 
no man's reputation, are particularly zealous for mine. 


To Sabinianus 

I GREATLY approve of your having, in compliance with 
my letter,^ received again into your favour and family a 
discarded freedman, who you once admitted into a share of 
your affection. This will afford you, I doubt not, great 
satisfaction. It certainly has me, both as a proof that your 
passion can be controlled, and as an instance of your paying 
so much regard to me, as either to yield to my authority 
or to comply with my request. Let me, therefore, at once 
both praise and thank you. At the same time I must advise 
you to be disposed for the future to pardon the faults of 
your people, though there should be none to interecede in 
their behalf. Farewell. 

1 See letter CIIl. 

364 PLINY 



I SAID once (and, I think, not inaptly) of a certain orator 
of the present age, whose compositions are extremely reg- 
ular and correct, but deficient in grandeur and embellishment, 
" His only fault is that he has none." Whereas he, who is 
possessed of the true spirit of oratory, should be bold and 
elevated, and sometimes even flame out, be hurried away, 
and frequently tread upon the brink of a precipice: for 
danger is generally near whatever is towering and exalted. 
The plain, it is true, affords a safer, but for that reason a 
more humble and inglorious, path: they who run are more 
likely to stumble than they who creep; but the latter gain 
no honour by not slipping, while the former even fall with 
glory. It is with eloquence as with some other arts; she 
is never more pleasing than when she risks most. Have you 
not observed what acclamations our rope-dancers excite at 
the instant of imminent danger? Whatever is most entirely 
unexpected, or as the Greeks more strongly express it, what- 
ever is most perilous, most excites our admiration. The 
pilot's skill is by no means equally proved in a calm as in 
a storm: in the former case he tamely enters the port, un- 
noticed and unapplauded; but when the cordage cracks, the 
mast bends, and the rudder groans, then it is that he shines 
out in all his glory, and is hailed as little inferior to a sea- 

The reason of my making this observation is, because, if I 
mistake not, you have marked some passages in my writings 
for being tumid, exuberant, and over-wrought, which, in 
my estimation, are but adequate to the thought, or boldly 
sublime. But it is material to consider whether your criti- 
cism turns upon such points as are real faults, or only 
striking and remarkable expressions. Whatever is ele- 
vated is sure to be observed; but it requires a very nice 
judgment to distinguish the bounds between true and false 
grandeur; between loftiness and exaggeration. To give 
an instance out of Homer, the author who can, with the 
greatest propriety, fly from one extreme of style to another 



"Heav'n in loud thunder bids the trumpet sound ; 
And wide beneath them groans the rending ground."^ 


"Reclin'd on clouds his steed and armour lay."' 

So in this passage : 

"As torrents roll, increas'd by numerous rills, 
With rage impetuous down their echoing hills, 
Rush to the vales, and pour'd along the plain. 
Roar through a thousand channels to the main."* 

It requires, I say, the nicest balance to poise these meta- 
phors, and determine whether they are incredible and mean- 
ingless, or majestic and sublime. Not that I think anything 
which I have written, or can write, admits of comparison 
with these. I am not quite so foolish; but what I would 
be understood to contend for is, that we should give elo- 
quence free rein, and not restrain the force and impetuosity 
of genius within too narrow a compass. But it will be said, 
perhaps, that one law applies to orators, another to poets. As 
if, in truth. Marc Tully were not as bold in his metaphors 
as any of the poets ! But not to mention particular instances 
from him, in a point where, I imagine, there can be no 
dispute; does Demosthenes* himself, that model and standard 
of true oratory, does Demosthenes check and repress the fire 
of his indignation, in that well-known passage which begins 
thus: "These wicked men, these flatterers, and these de- 
stroyers of mankind," &c. And again: "It is neither with 
stones nor bricks that I have fortified this city," &c. — And 
afterwards: "I have thrown up these out-works before 
Attica, and pointed out to you all the resources which human 
prudence can suggest," &c. — And in another place: "O 
Athenians, I swear by the immortal gods that he is intoxi- 

1 Iliad, xxi. 387. Pope. M. 

2 Iliad, V. 356, speaking of Mars. M. 
' Iliad, iv. 452. Pope. 

* The design of Pliny in this letter is to justify the figurative expres- 
sions he had employed, probably, in some oration, by instances of the same 
warmth of colouring from those great masters of eloquence, Demosthenes 
and his rival Aeschines. But the force of the passages which he produces 
from these orators must necessarily be greatly weakened to a mere modern 
reader, some of them being only hinted at, as generally well known; and 
the metaphors in several of the others have either lost much of their orig- 
inal spirit and boldness, by being introduced and received in common lan- 
guage, or cannot, perhaps, be preserved in an English translation. M. 

366 PLINY 

cated with the grandeur of his own actions," &c.* — But what 
can be more daring and beautiful than that long digression, 
which begins in this manner: "A terrible disease?" — The 
following passage likewise, though somewhat shorter, is 
equally boldly conceived: — "Then it was I rose up in op- 
position to the daring Pytho, who poured forth a torrent of 
menaces against you," &c.* — The subsequent stricture is of 
the same stamp: "When a man has strengthened himself, 
as Philip has, in avarice and wickedness, the first pretence, 
the first false step, be it ever so inconsiderable, has over- 
thrown and destroyed all," &c7 — So in the same style with 
the foregoing is this: — "Railed ofF, as it were, from the 
privileges of society, by the concurrent and just judgments 
of the three tribunals in the city." — And in the same place: 
"O Aristogiton ! you have betrayed that mercy which used 
to be shown to offences of this nature, or rather, indeed, 
you have wholly destroyed it. In vain then would you fly 
for refuge to a port, which you have shut up, and encom- 
passed with rocks." — He has said before : *T am afraid, 
therefore, you should appear in the judgment of some, to 
have erected a public seminary of faction: for there is a 
weakness in all wickedness which renders it apt to betray 
itself!" — And a little lower: "I see none of these resources 
open to him ; but all is precipice gulf, and profound abyss." — 
And again: "Nor do I imagine that our ancestors erected 
those courts of judicature that men of his character should 
be planted there, but on the contrary, eradicated, that none 
may emulate their evil actions." — And afterwards: "If he 
is then the artiUcer of every wickedness, if he only makes it 
his trade and traffic," &c. — And a thousand other passages 
which I might cite to the same purpose; not to mention 
those expressions which Aeschines calls not words, but 
zvonders. — You will tell me, perhaps, I have unwarily men- 
tioned Aeschines, since Demosthenes is condemned even 
by him, for running into these figurative expressions. But 
observe, I entreat you, how far superior the former orator 
is to his critic, and superior too in the very passage to 
which he objects; for in others, the force of his genius, in 

^ See ist Philippic. 

® See Demosthenes' speech in defence of Cteisphon. 

'^ See and Olynthiac. 


those above quoted, its loftiness, makes itself manifest. But 
does Aeschines himself avoid those errors which he re- 
proves in Demosthenes? "The orator," says he, "Athen- 
ians, and the law, ought to speak the same language; but 
when the voice of the law declares one thing, and that of 
the orator another we should give our vote to the justice of 
the law, not to the impudence of the orator,"® — And in 
another place : " He afterwards manifestly discovered the 
design he had, of concealing his fraud under cover of the 
decree, having expressly declared therein that the am- 
bassadors sent to the Oretae gave the five talents, not to 
you, but to Callias. And that you may be convinced of 
the truth of what I say (after having stripped the decree 
of its gallies, its trim, and its arrogant ostentation), read 
the clause itself." — And in another part : " Suffer him not 
to break cover and escape out of the limits of the question." 
A metaphor he is so fond of that he repeats it again. " But 
remaining firm and confident in the assembly, drive him into 
the merits of the question, and observe well how he doubles." 
— Is his style more reserved and simple when he says: 
" But you are ever wounding our ears, and are more con- 
cerned in the success of your daily harangues than for the 
salvation of the city?" — What follows is conceived in a yet 
higher strain of metaphor : " Will you not expel this man 
as the common calamity of Greece? Will you not seize and 
punish this pirate of the state, who sails about in quest of 
favourable conjunctures," &c. — With many other passages 
of a similar nature. And now I expect you will make the 
same attacks upon certain expressions in this letter as you 
did upon those I have been endeavouring to defend. The 
rudder that groans, and the pilot compared to a sea-god, 
will not, I imagine, escape your criticism: for I perceive, 
while I am suing for indulgence to my former style, I have 
fallen into the same kind of figurative diction which you 
condemn. But attack them if you please provided you will 
immediately appoint a day when we may meet to discuss 
these matters in person: you will then either teach me to 
be less daring or I shall teach you to be more bold. Fare- 

* See Aeschines' speech against Ctesiphon. 

368 PLINY 


To Caninius 

I HAVE met with a story, which, although authenticated 
by undoubted evidence, looks very like fable, and would 
afford a worthy field for the exercise of so exuberant, lofty, 
and truly poetical a genius as your own. It was related 
to me the other day over the dinner table, where the con- 
versation happened to run upon various kinds of marvels. 
The person who told the story was a man of unsuspected 
veracity: — but what has a poet to do with truth? How- 
ever, you might venture to rely upon his testimony, even 
though you had the character of a faithful historian to 
support. There is in Africa a town called Hippo, situated 
not far from the sea-coast: it stands upon a navigable lake, 
communicating with an estuary in the form of a river, 
which alternately flows into the lake, or into the ocean, 
according to the ebb and flow of the tide. People of all 
ages amuse themselves here with fishing, sailing, or swim- 
ming; especially boys, whom love of play brings to the 
spot. With these it is a fine and manly achievement to be 
able to swim the farthest; and he that leaves the shore and 
his companions at the greatest distance gains the victory. 
It happened, in one of these trials of skill, that a certain 
boy, bolder than the rest, launched out towards the opposite 
shore. He was met t)y a dolphin, who sometimes swam 
before him, and sometimes behind him, then played round 
him, and at last took him upon his back, and set him down, 
and afterwards took him up again; and thus he carried the 
poor frightened fellow out into the deepest part; when 
immediately he turns back again to the shore, and lands 
him among his companions. The fame of this remarkable 
accident spread through the town, and crowds of people 
flocked round the boy (whom they viewed as a kind of 
prodigy) to ask him questions and hear him relate the story. 
The next day the shore was thronged with spectators, all 
attentively watching the ocean, and (what indeed is almost 
itself an ocean) the lake. Meanwhile the boys swam as 
Hsual, and among the rest, the boy I am speaking of went 


into the lake, but with more caution than before. The 
dolphin appeared again and came to the boy, who, together 
with his companions, swam away with the utmost precipita- 
tion. The dolphin, as though to invite and call them back, 
leaped and dived up and down, in a series of circular move- 
ments. This he practised the next day, the day after, and 
for several days together, till the people (accustomed from 
their infancy to the sea) began to be ashamed of their 
timidity. They ventured, therefore, to advance nearer, play- 
ing with him and calling him to them, while he, in return, 
suffered himself to be touched and stroked. Use rendered 
them courageous. The boy, in particular, who first made 
the experiment, swam by the side of him, and, leaping 
upon his back, was carried backwards and forwards in that 
manner, and thought the dolphin knew him and was fond of 
him, while he too had grown fond of the dolphin. There 
seemed, now, indeed, to be no fear on either side, the con- 
fidence of the one and tameness of the other mutually in- 
creasing; the rest of the boys, in the meanwhile, surrounding 
and encouraging their companion. It is very remarkable 
that this dolphin was followed by a second, which seemed 
only as a spectator and attendant on the former; for he 
did not at all submit to the same familiarities as the first, 
but only escorted him backwards and forwards, as the 
boys did their comrade. But what is further surprising, 
and no less true than what I have already related, is that this 
dolphin, who thus played with the boys and carried them 
upon his back, would come upon the shore, dry himself in 
the sand, and, as soon as he grew warm, roll back into the 
sea. It is a fact that Octavius Avitus, deputy governor of 
the province, actuated by an absurd piece of superstition, 
poured some ointment* over him as he lay on the shore: the 
novelty and smell of which made him retire into the ocean, 
and it was not till several days after that he was seen again, 
when he appeared dull and languid; however, he recov- 
ered his strength and continued his usual playful tricks. 
All the magistrates round flocked hither to view this sights 

^ It was a religious ceremony practised by the ancients to pour preciou{» 
ointments upon the statues of_ their gods: Avitus, it is probaole, imagined 
this dolphin was some sea-divinity, and therefore expressed his veneration 
of him by the solemnity of a sacred unction. M, 

370 PLINY 

whose arrival, and prolonged stay, was an additional expense, 
which the slender finances of this little community would 
ill afford; besides, the quiet and retirement of the place 
was utterly destroyed. It was thought proper, therefore, to 
remove the occasion of this concourse, by privately killing 
the poor dolphin. And now, with what a flow of tenderness 
will you describe this affecting catastrophe V and how will 
your genius adorn and heighten this moving story ! Though, 
indeed, the subject does not require any fictitious embel- 
lishments; it will be sufficient to describe the actual facts 
of the case without suppression or diminution. Farewell. 


To Fuscus 

You want to know how I portion out my day, in my 
summer villa at Tuscum? I get up just when I please; 
generally about sunrise, often earlier, but seldom later than 
this. I keep the shutters closed, as darkness and silence 
wonderfully promote meditation. Thus free and abstracted 
from these outward objects which dissipate attention, I am 
left to my own thoughts; nor suffer my mind to wander 
with my eyes, but keep my eyes in subjection to my mind, 
which, when they are not distracted by a multiplicity of 
external objects, see nothing but what the imagination 
represents to them. If I have any work in hand, this is 
the time I choose for thinking it out, word for word, even 

_ * The overflowing humanity of Pliny's temper breaks out upon all occa- 
sions, but he discovers it in nothing more strongly than by the impression 
which this little story appears to have made upon him. True benevolence, 
indeed, extends itself through the whole compass of existence, and sym- 
pathises with the distress of every creatureof sensation. Little minds may 
be apt to consider a compassion of this inferior kind as an instance of 
weakness; but it is undoubtedly the evidence of a noble nature. Homer 
thought it not unbecoming the character even of a hero to melt into tears 
at a distress of this sort, and has given us a most amiable and affecting 
picture of Ulysses weeping over his faithful dog Argus, when he expires 
at his feet: 

.... avrap o vocipiv iSuiv awoiiop^aro Saxpv, 

Peta \a9<av Eu/xaiov 

" Soft pity touch'd the mighty master's soul; 
Adown his cheek the tear unbidden stole. 
Stole unperceived; he turn'd his head and dry'd 
The drop humane." . . . 

(Odyss. xvii. Pope.) M. 


to the minutest accuracy of expression. In this way I com- 
pose more or less, according as the subject is more or less 
difficult, and I find myself able to retain it. I then call 
my secretary, and, opening the shutters, dictate to him what 
I have put into shape, after which I dismiss him, then call 
him in again, and again dismiss him. About ten or eleven 
o'clock (for I do not observe one fixed hour), according 
to the weather, I either walk upon my terrace or in the 
covered portico, and there I continue to meditate or dictate 
what remains upon the subject in which I am engaged. This 
completed, I get into my chariot, where I employ myself 
as before, when I was walking, or in my study; and find 
this change of scene refreshes and keeps up my attention. 
On my return home, I take a little nap, then a walk, and 
after that repeat out loud and distinctly some Greek or 
Latin speech, not so much for the sake of strengthening 
my voice as my digestion;^ though indeed the voice at the 
same time is strengthened by this practice. I then take 
another walk, am anointed, do my exercises, and go into the 
bath. At supper, if I have only my wife or a few friends 
with me, some author is read to us; and after supper we 
are entertained either with music or an interlude. When 
that is finished, I take my walk with my family, among 
whom I am not without some scholars. Thus we pass our 
evenings in varied conversation; and the day, even when 
at the longest, steals imperceptibly away. Upon some occa- 
sions I change the order in certain of the articles above- 
mentioned. For instance, if I have studied longer or walked 
more than usual, after my second sleep, and reading a 
speech or two aloud, instead of using my chariot I get 
on horseback; by which means I ensure as much exercise 
and lose less time. The visits of my friends from the neigh- 
bouring villages claim some part of the day; and sometimes, 
by an agreeable interruption, they come in very seasonably 
to relieve me when I am feeling tired. I now and then 
amuse myself with hunting, but always take my tablets into 

1 By the regimen which Pliny here follows, one would imagine, if he 
had not told us who were his physicians, that the celebrated Celsus was 
in the number. That author _ exjiressly recommends reading aloud, and 
afterwards walking, as beneficial in disorders of the stomach: "Si quis 
stomacho laborat, legere dare debet; post lectionetn ambulare," &c. Celsi 
Medic. 1. i. c 8. M. 

372 PLINY 

the field, that, if I should meet with no game, I may at 
least bring home something. Part of my time too (though 
not so much as they desire) is allotted to my tenants; whose 
rustic complaints, along with these city occupations, make 
my literary studies still more delightful to me. Farewell. 


To Paulinus 

As you are not of a disposition to expect from your 
friends the ordinary ceremonial observances of society when 
they cannot observe them without inconvenience to them- 
selves, so I love you too steadfastly to be apprehensive of 
your taking otherwise than I wish you should my not wait- 
ing upon you on the first day of your entrance upon the 
consular office, especially as I am detained here by the 
necessity of letting my farms upon long leases. I am 
obliged to enter upon an entirely new plan with my tenants: 
for under the former leases, though I made them very con- 
siderable abatements, they have run greatly in arrear. For 
this reason several of them have not only taken no sort of 
care to lessen a debt which they found themselves incapable 
of wholly discharging, but have even seized and consumed 
all the produce of the land, in the belief that it would now 
be of no advantage to themselves to spare it. I must there- 
fore obviate this increasing evil, and endeavour to find out 
some remedy against it. The only one I can think of is, not 
to reserve my rent in money, but in kind, and so place some 
of my servants to overlook the tillage, and guard the stock; 
as indeed there is no sort of revenue more agreeable to reason 
than what arises from the bounty of the soil, the seasons, and 
the climate. It is true, this method will require great honesty, 
sharp eyes, and many hands. However, I must risk the ex- 
periment, and, as in an inveterate complaint, try every change 
of remedy. You see, it is not any pleasurable indulgence 
that prevents my attending you on the first day of your 
consulship. I shall celebrate it^ nevertheless, as much as if I 
were present, and pay my vows for you here, with all the 
warmest tokens of joy and congratulation. Farewell. 



To Fuscus 

You are much pleased, I find, with the account I gave 
you in my former letter of how I spend the summer season 
at Tuscum, and desire to know what alteration I make in 
my method when I am at Laurentum in the winter. None at 
all, except abridging myself of my sleep at noon, and bor- 
rowing a good piece of the night before daybreak and after 
sunset for study: and if business is very urgent (which in 
winter very frequently happens), instead of having inter- 
ludes or music after supper, I reconsider whatever I have 
previously dictated, and improve my memory at the same 
time by this frequent mental revision. Thus I have given 
you a general sketch of my mode of life in summer and 
winter; to which you may add the intermediate seasons of 
spring and autumn, in which, while losing nothing out of the 
day, I gain but little from the night. Farewell, 




The pious affection you bore, most sacred Emperor, to 
your august father induced you to wish it might be late ere 
you succeeded him. But the immortal gods thought proper 
to hasten the advancement of those virtues to the helm of 
the commonwealth which had already shared in the steerage.^ 
jVTay you then, and the world through your means, enjoy 
every prosperity worthy of your reign : to which let me add 
my wishes, most excellent Emperor, upon a private as well 
as public account, that your health and spirits may be pre- 
served firm and unbroken. 

* The greater part of the following letters were written by Pliny during 
liis administration in the province of Bithynia. They are of a style and 
character extremely^ different from thosi^ in the preceding collection; whence 
some critics have injudiciously inferred that they are the production of 
another hand: not considering that the occasion necessarily required a dif- 
ferent manner. In letters of business, as these chiefly are, turn and senti- 
ment would be forei^ and impertinent; politeness^ and elegance of expres- 
sion being the essentials that constitute perfection in this kind: and in that 
view, though they may be less entertaining, they have not less merit than 
the former. But besides their particular excellence as letters, they have 
a farther recommendation as so many valuable pieces of history, by throw- 
ing a strong light upon the character of one of the most amiable and 
glorious princes in the Roman annals. Trajan appears _ throughout in the 
most striking attitude that majesty can be placed in; in the exertion of 
power to the godlike purposes of justice and benevolence: and what one 
of the ancient historians has wid of him is here clearly verified, that " he 
rather chose to be loved than blattered by his people." To have been dis- 
tinguished by the favour and friendship of a monarch of so exalted a 
character is an honour that reflects the brightest _ lustre upon our author; 
as to have been served and celebrated by a courtier of Pliny's genius and 
virtues is the noblest monument of glory that could have been raised to 
Trajan. M. 

2 Nerva, who succeeded Domitian, reigned but sixteen months and a few 
days. Before his death he not only adopted Trajan, and named him for 
his_ successor, but actually admitted him into a share of the government; 
giving him the titles of Caesar, Germanicus, and Imperator. Vid. Plin. 
Paneg. M. 




To THE Emperor Trajan 

You have occasioned me, Sir, an inexpressible pleasure in 
deeming me worthy of enjoying the privilege which the 
laws confer on those who have three children. For al- 
though it was from an indulgence to the request of the 
excellent Julius Servianus, your own most devoted servant, 
that you granted this favour, yet I have the satisfaction 
to find by the words of your rescript that you complied 
the more willingly as his application was in my behalf. I 
cannot but look upon myself as in possession of my utmost 
wish, after having thus received, at the beginning of your 
most auspicious reign, so distinguishing a mark of your 
peculiar favour; at the same time that it considerably 
heightens my desire of leaving a family behind me. I was 
not entirely without this desire even in the late most un- 
happy times : as my two marriages will induce you to be- 
lieve. But the gods decreed it better, by reserving every 
valuable privilege to the bounty of your generous dispen- 
sations. And indeed the pleasure of being a father will 
be so much more acceptable to me now, that I can enjoy it 
in full security and happiness. 


To THE Emperor Trajan 

The experience, most excellent Emperor, I have had of 
your unbounded generosity to me, in my own person, encour- 
ages me to hope I may be yet farther obliged to it, in that of 
my friends. Voconius Romanus (who was my schoolfellow 
and companion from our earliest years) claims the first 
rank in that number; in consequence of which I petitioned 
your sacred father to promote him to the dignity of the sena- 
torial order. But the completion of my request is reserved 
to your goodness; for his mother had not then advanced, in 
the manner the law directs, the liberal gift' of four hundred 

» $16,000. 

376 PLINY 

thousand sesterces, which she engaged to give him, in her 
letter to the late emperor, your father. This, however, by my 
advice she has since done, having made over certain estates 
to him, as well as completed every other act necessary to 
make the conveyance valid. The difficulties therefore being 
removed which deferred the gratification of our wishes, it 
is with full confidence I venture to assure you of the worth 
of my friend Romanus, heightened and adorned as it is 
not only by liberal culture, but by his extraordinary tender- 
ness to his parents as well. It is to that virtue he owes the 
present liberality of his mother; as well as his immediate 
succession to his late father's estate, and his adoption by 
his father-in-law. To these personal qualifications, the 
wealth and rank of his family give additional lustre; and 
I persuade myself it will be some further recommendation 
that I solicit in his behalf. Let me, then, entreat you, Sir, 
to enable me to congratulate Romanus on so desirable an 
occasion, and at the same time to indulge an eager and, I 
hope, laudable ambition, of having it in my power to boast 
that your favourable regards are extended not only to my- 
self, but also to my friend. 


To THE Emperor Trajan 

When by your gracious indulgence. Sir, I was appointed 
to preside at the treasury of Saturn, I immediately re- 
nounced all engagements of the bar (as indeed I never 
blended business of that kind with the functions of the 
state), that no avocations might call off my attention from 
the post to which I was appointed. For this reason, when 
the province of Africa petitioned the senate that I might 
undertake their cause against Marius Priscus, I excused my- 
self from that office; and my excuse was allowed. But 
when afterwards the consul elect proposed that the senate 
should apply to us again, and endeavour to prevail with us 
to yield to its inclinations, and suffer our names to be thrown 
into the urn, I thought it most agreeable to that tranquillity 
and good order which so happily distinguishes your times 


not to oppose (especially in so reasonable an instance) the 
will of that august assembly. And, as I am desirous that 
all my words and actions may receive the sanction of your 
exemplary virtue, I hope you approve of my compliance. 


Trajan to Pliny 

You acted as became a good citizen and a worthy senator, 
by paying obedience to the just requisition of that august 
assembly: and I have full confidence you will faithfully dis- 
charge the business you have undertaken. 


To THE Emperor Trajan 

Having been attacked last year by a very severe and 
dangerous illness, I employed a physician, whose care and 
diligence, Sir, I cannot sufficiently reward, but by your 
gracious assistance. I entreat you therefore to make him 
a denizen of Rome; for as he is the freedman of a foreign 
lady, he is, consequently, himself also a foreigner. His 
name is Harpocras; his patroness (who has been dead a 
considerable time) was Thermuthis, the daughter of Theon. 
I further entreat you to bestow the full privileges of a Roman 
citizen upon Hedia and Antonia Harmeris, the freedwomen 
of Antonia Maximilla, a lady of great merit. It is at her 
desire I make this request, 


To THE Emperor Trajan 

I RETURN you thanks, Sir, for your ready compliance with 
my desire, in granting the complete privileges of a Roman to 
the freedwomen of a lady to whom I am allied and also for 
making Harpocras, my physician, a denizen of Rome. But 
when, agreeably to your directions, I gave in an account of 
his age, and estate, I was informed by those who are better 

378 PLINY 

skilled in the affairs than I pretend to be that, as he is an 
Egyptian, I ought first to have obtained for him the freedom 
of Alexandria before he was made free of Rome. I confess, 
indeed, as I was ignorant of any difference in this case be- 
tween those of Egypt and other countries, I contented my- 
self with only acquainting you that he had been manumitted 
by a foreign lady long since deceased. However, it is an 
ignorance! cannot regret, since it affords me an opportunity 
of receiving from you a double obligation in favour of the 
same person. That I may legally therefore enjoy the bene- 
fit of your goodness, I beg you would be pleased to grant 
him the freedom, of the city of Alexandria, as well as that 
of Rome. And that your gracious intentions may not meet 
with any further obstacles, I have taken care, as you directed, 
to send an account to your freedman of his age and 


Trajan to Pliny 

It is my resolution, in pursuance of the maxim observed 
by the princes my predecessors, to be extremely cautious in 
granting the freedom of the city of Alexandria: however, 
since you have obtained of me the freedom of Rome for 
your physician Harpocras, I cannot refuse you this other 
request. You must let me know to what district he be- 
longs, that I may give you a letter to my friend Pompeius 
Planta, governor of Egypt. 


To THE Emperor Trajan 

I cannot express. Sir, the pleasure your letter gave me, 
by which I am informed that you have made my physician 
Harpocras a denizen of Alexandria; notwithstanding your 
resolution to follow the maxim of your predecessors in this 
point, by being extremely cautious in granting that privilege. 
Agreeably to your directions, I acquaint you that Harpocras 
belongs to the district of Memphis.^ I entreat you then, 

>• One of the four governments of Lower Egypt. M. 


most gracious Emperor, to send me, as you promised, a 
letter to your friend Pompeius Planta, governor of Egypt. 

As I purpose (in order to have the earliest enjoyment 
of your presence, so ardently v^ished for here) to come to 
meet you, I beg, Sir, you would permit me to extend my 
journey as far as possible. 


To THE Emperor Trajan 

I WAS greatly obliged. Sir, in my late illness, to Post- 
humius Marinus, my physician; and I cannot make him a 
suitable return, but by the assistance of your wonted gracious 
indulgence. I entreat you then to make Chrysippus Mith- 
ridates and his wife Stratonica (who are related to Marinus) 
denizens of Rome. I entreat likewise the same privilege 
in favour of Epigonus and Mithridates, the two sons of 
Chrysippus; but with this restriction^ that they may remain 
under the dominion of their father, and yet reserve their 
right of patronage over their own freedmen. I further en- 
treat you to grant the full privileges of a Roman to L. 
Satrius Abascantius, P. Caesius Phosphorus, and Pancharia 
Soteris. This request I make with the consent of their 


To THE Emperor Trajan 

After your late sacred father. Sir, had, in a noble speech, 
as well as by his own generous example, exhorted and en- 
couraged the public to acts of munificence, I implored his 

1- The extensive power of paternal authority was (as has been observed 
in the notes above) peculiar to the Ramans. But after Chrysippus was 
made a denizen of Rome, he was not, it would seem, consequentially en- 
titled to that privilege over those children which, were born before his 
denization. On the other hand, if it was expressly granted him, his chil- 
dren could not preserve their right of patronage over their own freedmen, 
because that right would of course devolve to their father, by means of 
this acquired dominion over them. The denization therefore of his chil- 
dren is as expressly solicited as his own. But both parties becoming 
quirites, the children by this creation, and not pleading m right of their 
father, would be patres fain. To prevent which the clause is added, " ita 
ut sint in patris potestate : " as there is another to save to them their 
rights of patronage over their freedmen, though they were reduced in 
patriam potestatetn. M. 

380 PLINY 

permission to remove the several statues which I had of 
the former emperors to my corporation, and at the same 
time requested permission to add his own to the number. 
For as I had hitherto let them remain in the respective places 
in which they stood when they were left to me by several 
different inheritances, they were dispersed in distant parts 
of my estate. He was pleased to grant my request, and at 
the same time to give me a very ample testimony of his ap- 
probation. I immediately, therefore, wrote to the decurii, 
to desire they would allot a piece of ground, upon which I 
might build a temple at my own expense ; and they, as a 
mark of honour to my design, offered me the choice of any 
site I might think proper. However, my own ill-health in 
the first place, and later that of your father, together with 
the duties of that employment which you were both pleased 
to entrust me, prevented my proceeding with that design. 
But I have now, I think, a convenient opportunity of mak- 
ing an excursion for the purpose, as my monthly attendance^ 
ends on the ist of September, and there are several festivals 
in the month following. My first request, then, is that you 
would permit me to adorn the temple I ahi going to erect 
with your statue, and next (in order to the execution of my 
design with all the expedition possible) that you would in- 
dulge me with leave of absence. It would ill become the 
sincerity I profess, were I to dissemble that your goodness 
in complying with this desire will at the same time be ex- 
tremely serviceable to me in my own private affairs. It is 
absolutely necessary I should not defer any longer the let- 
ting of my lands in that province; for, besides that they 
amount to above four hundred thousand sesterces,^ the time 
for dressing the vineyards is approaching, and that business 
must fall upon my new tenants. The unfruitfulness of the 

''■ Pliny enjoyed the office of treasurer in conjunction with Cornutus 
TertuUus. It was the custom at Rome for those who had colleagues to 
administer the duties of their posts by monthly turns. Buchner. M. 

2 About $16,000; the annual income of Pliny's estate in Tuscany. He 
mentions another near Comum in Milan, the yearly value of which does 
not appear. We find him likewise meditating the purchase of an estate, 
for which he was to give about $117,000 of our money; but whether he ever 
completed that purchase is uncertam. This, however, we are sure of, that 
his fortunes were but moderate, considering his high station and necessary 
expenses: and yet, by the advantage of a judicious economy, we have seen 
him, in the course of these letters, exercising a liberality of which after- 
ages have furnished no parallel. M. 


seasons besides, for several years past, obliges me to think 
of making some abatements in my rents; which I cannot 
possibly settle unless I am present. I shall be indebted then 
to your indulgence, Sir, for the expedition of my work of 
piety, and the settlement of my own private affairs, if you will 
be pleased to grant me leave of absence* for thirty days. 
I cannot give myself a shorter time, as the town and the 
estate of which I am speaking lie above a himdred and fifty 
miles from Rome. 


Trajan to Pliny 

You have given me many private reasons, and every public 
one, why you desire leave of absence; but I need no other 
than that it is your desire : and I doubt not of your returning 
as soon as possible to the duty of an office which so much 
requires your attendance. As I would not seem to check 
any instance of your affection towards me, I shall not oppose 
your erecting my statue in the place you desire; though in 
general I am extremely cautious in giving any encourage- 
ment to honours of that kind. 


To THE Emperor Trajan 

As I am sensible. Sir, that the highest applause my 
actions can receive is to be distinguished by so excellent a 
prince, I beg you would be graciously pleased to add either 
the office of augur or septemvir^ (both which are now va- 
cant) to the dignity I already enjoy by your indulgence; that 
T may have the satisfaction of publicly offering up those 
vows for your prosperity, from the duty of my office, which 
I daily prefer to the gods in private, from the affection of 
my heart. 

' The senators were not allowed to go from Rome into the provinces with- 
out having first obtained leave of the emperor. Sicily, however, had the 
privilege to be excepted out of that law; as Gallia Narbonensis afterwards 
was, by Claudius Caesar. Tacit. Ann. xii. c. 23. M. 

^ One of the seven priests who presided over the feasts appointed in 
honour of Jupiter and the other gods, an office, as appears, of high dig- 
nity, since Plmy ranks it with the augurship. 

382 PLINY 


To THE Emperor Trajan 

Having safely passed the promontory of Malea, I am ar- 
rived at Ephesus with all my retinue, notw^ithstanding I v^^as 
detained for some time by contrary winds: a piece of in- 
formation, Sir, in which, I trust, you will feel yourself con- 
cerned. I propose pursuing the remainder of my journey 
to the province^ partly in light vessels, and partly in post- 
chaises : for as the excessive heats will prevent my travelling 
altogether by land, so the Etesian winds,^ which are now 
set in, will not permit me to proceed entirely by sea. 


Trajan to Pliny 

Your information, my dear Pliny, was extremely agreeable 
to me, as it does concern me to know in what manner you 
arrive at your province. It is a wise intention of yours to 
travel either by sea or land, as you shall find most convenient. 


To the Emperor Trajan 

As I had a very favourable voyage to Ephesus, so in 
travelling by post-chaise from thence I' was extremely 
troubled by the heats, and also by some slight feverish at- 
tacks, which kept me some time at Pergamus. From there, 
Sir, I got on board a coasting vessel, but, being again de- 
tained by contrary winds, did not arrive at Bithynia so soon 
as I had hoped. However, I have no reason to complain 
of this delay, since (which indeed was the most auspicious 
circumstance that could attend me) I reached the province in 

1 Bithynia, a province in Anatolia, or Asia Minor, of _ which Pliny was 
appointed governor by Trajan, in the sixth year of his reign, a. d. 103, not 
as an ordinary proconsul, but as that emperor's own lieutenant, with powers 
extraordinary. (See Dio.) The following letters were written during his 
administration of that province. M, 

2 A north wind in the Grecian seas, which rises yearly some ^ time in 
July, and continues to the end of August; though others extend it to the 
middle of September. They blow only in the day-time. Varenius's Geogr. 
V. i. p. 513- ^' 


time to celebrate your birthday. I am at present engaged in 
examining the finances of the Prusenses,^ their expenses, 
revenues, and credits ; and the farther I proceed in this work, 
the more I am convinced of the necessity of my enquiry. 
Several large sums of money are owing to the city from 
private persons, which they neglect to pay upon various pre- 
tences; as, on the other hand, I find the public funds are, 
in some instances, very unwarrantably applied. This, Sir, 
I write to you immediately on my arrival. I entered this 
province on the 17th of September," and found in it that 
obedience and loyalty towards yourself which you justly 
merit from all mankind. You will consider. Sir, whether it 
would not be proper to send a surveyor here ; for I am in- 
clined to think much might be deducted from what is 
charged by those who have the conduct of the public works 
if a faithful admeasurement were to be taken : at least I am 
of that opinion from what I have already seen of the ac- 
counts of this city, which I am now going into as fully as 
is possible. 


Trajan to Pliny 

I SHOULD have rejoiced to have heard that you arrived at 
Bithynia without the smallest inconvenience to yourself or 
any of your retinue, and that your journey from Ephesus 
had been as easy as your voyage to that place was favourable. 
For the rest, your letter informs me, my dearest Secundus, 
on what day you reached Bithynia. The people of that 
province will be convinced, I persuade myself, that I am 
attentive to their interest ; as your conduct towards them will 
make it manifest that I could have chosen no more proper 
person to supply my place. The examination of the public 
accounts ought certainly to be your first employment, as 
they are evidently in great disorder. I have scarcely sur- 
veyors sufficient to inspect those works' which I am carrying 

* The inhabitants of Prusa (Brusa), a principal city of Bithynia. 

•In the sixth year of Trajan's reign, a. d. 103, and the 41st of our 
author's age: he continued in this province about eighteen months. Vid. 
Mass. in Vit. Plin. 129. M. 

* Among other noble works which this glorious emperor executed, the 

384 PLINY 

on at Rome, and in the neighbourhood; but persons of in- 
tegrity and skill in this art may be found, most certainly, in 
every province, so that they will not fail you if only you will 
make due enquiry. 


To THE Emperor Trajan 

Though I am well assured, Sir, that you, who never 
omit any opportunity of exerting your generosity, are not 
unmindful of the request I lately made to you, yet, as you 
have often indulged me in this manner, give me leave to 
remind and earnestly entreat you to bestow the praetorship 
now vacant upon Attius Sura. Though his ambition is 
extremely moderate, yet the quality of his birth, the inflexible 
integrity he has preserved in a very narrow fortune, and, 
more than all, the felicity of your times, which encourages 
conscious virtue to claim your favour, induce him to hope 
he may experience it in the present instance. 


To THE Emperor Trajan 

I CONGRATULATE both you and the public, most excellent 
Emperor, upon the great and glorious victory you have ob- 
tained; so agreeable to the heroism of ancient Rome. May 
the immortal gods grant the same happy success to all your 
designs, that, under the administration of so many princely 
virtues, the splendour of the empire may shine out, not only 
in its former, but with additional lustre.* 

forum or square which went by his name seems to have been the most 
magnificent. It was built with the foreign spoils he had taken in war. The 
covering of this edifice^ was all brass, the porticoes exceedingly^ beautiful 
and magnificent, with pillars of more than ordinary height and dimensions. 
In the centre of this forum was erected the famous pillar which has been 
already described. 

1 It is probable the victory here alluded to was that_ famous one which 
Trajan gained over the Dacians; some account of which has been given 
in the notes above. It is certain, at least, Pliny lived to see his wish accom- 
plished, this emperor having carried the Roman splendour to its highest 
pitch, and extended the dominions of the empire farther than any of his 
predecessors; as after his death it began to decline. M. 



To THE Emperor Trajan 

My lieutenant, Servilius Pudens, came to Nicomedia/ Sir, 
on the 24th of November, and by his arrival freed me, at 
length, from the anxiety of a very uneasy expectation. 


To THE Emperor Trajan 

Your generosity to me. Sir, was the occasion of uniting me 
to Rosianus Geminus, by the strongest ties; for he was my 
quaestor when I was consul. His behaviour to me during 
the continuance of our offices was highly respectful, and he has 
treated me ever since with so peculiar a regard that, besides 
the many obligations I owe him upon a public account, I am 
indebted to him for the strongest pledges of private friend- 
ship. I entreat you, then, to comply with my request for 
the advancement of one whom (if my recommendation has 
any weight) you will even distinguish with your particular 
favour; and whatever trust you shall repose in him, he will 
endeavour to show himself still deserving of an higher. 
But I am the more sparing in my praises of him, being 
persuaded his integrity, his probity, and his vigilance are well 
known to you, not only from those high posts which he has 
exercised in Rome within your immediate inspection, but from 
his behaviour when he served under you in the army. One 
thing, however, my affection for him inclines me to think, 
I have not yet sufficiently done; and therefore. Sir, I repeat 
my entreaties that you will give me the pleasure, as early as 
possible, of rejoicing in the advancement of my quaestor, or, 
in other words, of receiving an addition to my own honours, 
in the person of my friend. 

* The capital of Bithynia; its modern name is Izmid. 

386 PLINY 


To THE Emperor Trajan 

It is not easy, Sir, to express the joy I received when I 
heard you had, in compliance with the request of my mother- 
in-law and myself, granted Coelius Clemens the proconsulship 
of this province after the expiration of his consular office; 
as it is from thence I learn the full extent of your goodness 
towards me, which thus graciously extends itself through 
my whole family. As I dare not pretend to make an equal 
return to those obligations I so justly owe you, I can only 
have recourse to vows, and ardently implore the gods that 
I may not be found unworthy of those favours which you 
are the repeatedly conferring upon me. 


To THE Emperor Trajan 

I RECEIVED, Sir, a dispatch from your freedman, Lycor- 
mas, desiring me, if any embassy from Bosporus^ should come 
here oa the way to Rome, that I would detain it till his 
arrival. None has yet arrived, at least in the city^ where 
I now am. But a courier passing through this place from 
the king of Sarmatia,* I embrace the opportunity which ac- 
cidentally offers itself, of sending with him the messenger 
which Lycormas despatched hither, that you might be in- 
formed by both their letters of what, perhaps, it may be 
expedient you should be acquainted with at one and the same 

1 The town of Panticapoeum, also called Bosporus, standing on the Euro- 
pean side of the Cimmerian Bosporus (Straits of Kaffa), in the modern 

2 Nicea (as appears by the isth letter of this book), a city in Bithynia, 
now called Isnik. M. 

* Sarmatia was divided into European, Asiatic, and German Sarmatia. 
It is not exactly known what bouncis the ancients gave to this extensive 
region; however, in general, it comprehended the northern part of Russia, 
and the greater part of Poland, &c, M. 



To THE Emperor Trajan 

I AM informed by a letter from the king of Sarmatia that 
there are certain affairs of which you ought to be informed 
as soon as possible. In order, therefore, to hasten the des- 
patches which his courier was charged with to you, I granted 
him an order to make use of the public post.^ 


To THE Emperor Trajan 

The ambassador from the king of Sarmatia having re- 
mained two days, by his own choice, at Nicea, I did not 
think it reasonable, Sir, to detain him any longer: because, 
in the first place, it was still uncertain when your freed- 
man, Lycormas, would arrive, and then again some indis- 
pensable affairs require my presence in a different part of 
the province. Of this I thought it necessary that you should 
be informed, because I lately acquainted you in a letter that 
Lycormas had desired, if any embassy should come this way 
from Bosporus, that I would detain it till his arrival. But 
I saw no plausible pretext for keeping him back any longer, 
especially as the despatches from Lycormas, which (as I 
mentioned before) I was not willing to detain, would prob- 
ably reach you some days sooner than this ambassador. 


To THE Emperor Trajan 

I RECEIVED a letter, Sir, from Apuleius, a military man, 
belonging to the garrison at Nicomedia, informing me that 

1 The first invention of public couriers is ascribed to Cyrus, who, in order 
to receive the earliest intelligence from the_ governors of the several prov- 
inceb, erected post-houses throughout the kingdom of Persia, at equal dis- 
tances, which supplied men and horses to forward the public despatches. 
Augustus was the first who introduced this most useful institution among 
the Romans, by employing post-chaises, disposed at convenient distances, for 
the purpose of political intelligence. The magistrates of every city were 

388 PLINY 

one Callidromus, being arrested by Maximus and Dionysius 
(two bakers, to whom he had hired himself), fled for refuge 
to your statue;^ that, being brought before a magistrate, 
he declared he was formerly slave to Laberius Maximus, 
but being taken prisoner by Susagus* in Moesia,^ he was 
sent as a present from Decebalus to Pacorus, king of 
Parthia, in whose service he continued several years, from 
whence he made his escape, and came to Nicomedia. When 
he was examined before me, he confirmed this account, for 
which reason I thought it necessary to send* him to you. 
This I should have done sooner, but I delayed his journey 
in order to make an inquiry concerning a seal ring which 
he said was taken from him, upon which was engraven the 
figure of Pacorus in his royal robes; I was desirous (if it 
could have been found) of transmitting this curiosity to 
you, with a small gold nugget which he says he brought 
from out of the Parthian mines. I have affixed my seal to 
it, the impression of which is a chariot drawn by four 


To THE Emperor Trajan 

Your freedman and procurator,^ Maximus, behaved. Sir, 
during all the time we were together, with great probity, 
attention, and diligence ; as one strongly attached to your 

obliged to furnish horses for these messengers, upon producing a diploma, 
or a kind of warrant, either from the emperor himself or from those who 
had that authority under him. Sometimes, though upon very extraordinary 
occasions, persons who travelled upon their private affairs, were allowed the 
use of these post-chaises. It is surprising they were not sooner used for 
the purposes of commerce and private communication. Louis XI. first es- 
tablished them in France, in the year 1474; but it was not till the 12th of 
Car. II. that the post-office was settled in England by Act of Parliament. M. 

1 Particular temples, altars, and statues were allowed among the Romans 
as places of privilege and sanctuary to slaves, debtors, and malefactors. 
This custom was introduced by Romulus, who borrowed it probably from 
the Greeks; but during the free state of Rome, few of these asylums were 
permitted. This custom prevailed most under the emperors, till it grew so 
scandalous that the Emperor Pius found it necessary to restrain those privi- 
leged places by an edict. See Lipsii Excurs. ad Taciti Ann. iii. c. 36. M. 

2 General under Decebalus, king of the Dacians. M. 

* A province in Dacia, comprehending the southern parts of Servia and 
part of Bulgaria. M. 

* The second expedition of Trajan against Decebalus was undertaken the 
same year that Pliny went governor into this province; the reason there- 
fore why Pliny sent this Callidromus to the emperor seems to be that some 
use might possibly be made of him in favour of that design. M. 

6 Receiver of the finances. M. 


interest, and strictly observant of discipline. This testi- 
mony I willingly give him; and I give it with all the fidelity 
I owe you. 


To THE Emperor Trajan 

After having experienced. Sir, in Gabius Bassus, who 
commands on the Pontic^ coast, the greatest integrity, 
honour, and diligence, as well as the most particular re- 
spect to myself, I cannot refuse him my best wishes and 
suffrage ; and I give them to him with all that fidelity which 
is due to you. I have found him abundantly qualified by 
having served in the army under you; and it is owing to 
the advantages of your discipline that he has learned to 
merit your favour. The soldiery and the people here, who 
have had full experience of his justice and humanity, rival 
each other in that glorious testimony they give of his con- 
duct, both in public and in private; and I certify this with 
all the sincerity you have a right to expect from me. 


To THE Emperor Trajan 

Nymphidius Lupus,* Sir, and myself, served in the army 
together; he commanded a body of the auxiliary forces at 
the same time that I was military tribune; and it was from 
thence my affection for him began. A long acquaintance 
has since mutually endeared and strengthened our friend- 
ship. For this reason I did violence to his repose, and in- 
sisted upon his attending me into Bithynia, as my assessor 
in council. He most readily granted me this proof of his 
friendship; and without any regard to the plea of age, or 
the ease of retirement,^ he shared, and continues to share, 
with me, the fatigue of public business. I consider his 

''■ The coast round the Black Sea. 

2 The text calls him primipilarem, that is, one who had been primipilus, 
an officer in the army, whose post was both highly honourable and profit- 
able; among other parts of his office he had the care of the eagle, or chief 
standard of the legion. M. 

390 PLINY 

relations, therefore, as my own; in which number Nymphi- 
dius Lupus, his son, claims my particular regard. He is a 
youth of great merit and indefatigable application, and in 
every respect well worthy of so excellent a father. The 
early proof he gave of his merit, when he commanded a 
regiment of foot, shows him to be equal to any honour you 
may think proper to confer upon him; and it gained him 
the strongest testimony of approbation from those most 
illustrious personages, Julius Ferox and Fuscus Salinator. 
And I will add. Sir, that I shall rejoice in any accession of 
dignity which he shall receive as an occasion of particular 
satisfaction to myself. 


To THE Emperor Trajan 

I BEG your determination, Sir, on a point I am exceed- 
ingly dovtbtful about: it is whether I should place the public 
slaves^ as sentries round the prisons of the several cities in 
this province (as has been hitherto the practice) or employ 
a party of soldiers for that purpose? On the one hand, I 
am afraid the public slaves will not attend this duty with the 
fidelity they ought; and on the other, that it will engage too 
large a body of the soldiery. In the meanwhile I have 
joined a few of the latter with the former. I am appre- 
hensive, however, there may be some danger that this 
method will occasion a general neglect of duty, as it will 
afford them a mutual opportunity of throwing the blame 
upon each other. 


Trajan to Pliny 

There is no occasion, my dearest Secundus, to draw off 
any soldiers in order to guard the prisons. Let us rather 
persevere in the ancient customs observed in this province, 
of employing the public slaves for that purpose; and the 
fidelity with which they shall execute their duty will depend 
much upon your care and strict discipline. It is greatly to 

^ Slaves who were purchased by the public. M. 


be feared, as you observe, if the soldiers should be mixed 
with the public slaves, they will mutually trust to each 
other, and by that means grow so much the more negligent. 
But my principal objection is that as few soldiers as possible 
should be withdrawn from their standard. 


To THE Emperor Trajan 

Gabius Bassus, who commands upon the frontiers of 
Pontica, in a manner suitable to the respect and duty which 
he owes you, came to me, and has been with me, Sir, for 
several days. As far as I could observe, he is a person of 
great merit and worthy of your favour. I acquainted him 
it was your order that he should retain only ten beneficiary^ 
soldiers, two horse-guards, and one centurion out of the 
troops which you were pleased to assign to my command. 
He assured me those would not be sufficient, and that he 
would write to you accordingly; for which reason I thought 
it proper not immediately to recall his supernumeraries. 


Trajan to Pliny 

I HAVE received from Gabius Bassus the letter you men- 
tion, acquainting me that the number of soldiers I had 
ordered him was not sufficient; and for your information 
I have directed my answer to be hereunto annexed. It 
is very material to distinguish between what the exigency 
of affairs requires and what an ambitious desire of ex- 
tending power may think necessary. As for ourselves, 
the public welfare must be our only guide: accordingly it 

^ The most probable conjecture (for it is a point of a good deal of obscur- 
ity) concerning the beneficiarii seems to be that they were a certain number 
of soldiers exempted from the usual duty of their office, in order to be 
employed as a sort of body-guards to the general. These were probably 
foot; as the equites here mentioned were perhaps of the same nature, only 
that they served on horseback. Equites singulares Cacsaris Augusti, &c., 
are frequently met with upon ancient inscriptions, and are generally sup- 
posed to mean the body-guards of the emperor. M. 

392 PLINY 

is incumbent upon us to take all possible care that the 
soldiers shall not be absent from their standard. 


To THE Emperor Trajan 

The Prusenses, Sir, having an ancient bath which lies in 
a ruinous state, desire your leave to repair it; but, upon 
examination, I am of opinion it ought to be rebuilt. I 
think, therefore, you may indulge them in this request, as 
there w^ill be a sufficient fund for that purpose, partly from 
those debts which are due from private persons to the public 
which I am now collecting in; and partly from what they 
raise among themselves towards furnishing the bath with 
oil, which they are willing to apply to the carrying on of 
this building; a work which the dignity of the city and the 
splendour of your times seem to demand. 


Trajan to Pliny 

If the erecting a public bath will not be too great a charge 
upon the Prusenses, we may comply with their request; pro- 
vided, however, that no new tax be levied for this purpose, 
nor any of those taken off which are appropriated to 
necessary services. 


To THE Emperor Trajan 

I AM assured. Sir, by your freedman and receiver-general 
Maximus, that it is necessary he should have a party of 
soldiers assigned to him, over and besides the beneficiarii, 
which by your orders I allotted to the very worthy Gemel- 
linus. Those therefore which I found in his service, I 
thought proper he should retain, especially as he was going 



into Paphlagonia/ in order to procure corn. For his better 
protection likewise, and because it was his request, I added 
two of the cavalry. But I beg you would inform me, in 
your next despatches, what method you would have me 
observe for the future in points of this nature. 


Trajan to Pliny 

As my freedman Maximus was going upon an extraordi- 
nary commission to procure corn, I approve of your having 
supplied him with a file of soldiers. But when he shall 
return to the duties of his former post, I think two from 
you and as many from his coadjutor, my receiver-general 
Virdius Gemellinus, will be sufficient. 


To THE Emperor Trajan 

The very excellent young man Sempronius Caelianus, 
having discovered two slaves^ among the recruits, has sent 
them to me. But I deferred passing sentence till I had con- 
sulted you, the restorer and upholder of military discipline, 
concerning the punishment proper to be inflicte ' upon them. 
My principal doubt is that, whether, although they have 
taken the military oath, they are yet entered into any par- 
ticular legion. I request you therefore, Sir, to inform me 

lA province in Asia Minor, bounded by the Black Sea on the north, 
Bithynia on the west, Pontus on the east, and Phrygia on the south. _ 

2 The Roman policy excluded slaves from entering into military service, 
and it was death if they did so. However, upon cases of great necessity, 
this maxim was dispensed with; but then they were first made free before 
they were received into the army, excepting only (as Servius m his notes 
upon Virgil) observes after the fatal battle of Cannae; when the public dis- 
tress was so great that the Romans recruited their army with their slaves, 
though they had not time to give them their freedom. One reason, perhaps, 
of this policy might be that they did not think it safe to arm so consider- 
able a body of men, whose numbers, in the times when the Roman luxury 
was at its highest, we may have some idea of by the instance which Pliny 
the naturalist mentions of Claudius Isodorus, who at the time of his death 
was possessed of no less than 4,1 16 slaves, notwithstanding he had lost great 
numbers in the civil wars. Plin. Hist. Nat. xxxiii. 10. M. 

394 PLINY 

what course I should pursue in this affair, especially as it 
concerns example. 


Trajan to Puny 

Sempronius Caelinus has acted agreeably to my orders, 
in sending such persons to be tried before you as appear to 
deserve capital punishment. It is material however, in 
the case in question, to inquire whether these slaves in- 
listed themselves voluntarily, or were chosen by the officers, 
or presented as substitutes for others. If they were chosen, 
the officer is guilty; if they are substitutes, the blame rests 
with those who deputed them; but if, conscious of the legal 
inabilities of their station, they presented themselves volun- 
tarily, the punishment must fall upon their own heads. That 
they are not yet entered into any legion, makes no great 
difference in their case; for they ought to have given a true 
account of themselves immediately, upon their being ap- 
proved as fit for the service. 


To THE Emperor Trajan 

As I hav. your permission. Sir, to address myself to you 
in all my doubts, you will not consider it beneath your 
dignity to descend to those humbler affairs which concern 
my administration of this province. I find there are in 
several cities, particularly those of Nicomedia and Nicea, 
certain persons who take upon themselves to act as public 
slaves, and receive an annual stipend accordingly; notwith- 
standing they have been condemned either to the mines, the 
public games,^ or other punishments of the like nature. Hav- 
ing received information of this abuse I have been long 
debating with myself what I ought to do. On the one 

^ A punishment among the Romans, usually inflicted upon slaves, by which 
they were to engage with wild beasts, or perform the part of gladiators, in 
the public shows. M. 


hand, to send them back again to their respective punish- 
ments (many of them being now grown old, and behaving, 
as I am assured, with sobriety and modesty) would, I 
thought, be proceeding against them too severely; on the 
other, to retain convicted criminals in the public service, 
seemed not altogether decent. I considered at the same 
time to support these people in idleness would be an use- 
less expense to the public; and to leave them to starve 
would be dangerous. I was obliged therefore to suspend 
the determination of this matter till I could consult with 
you. You will be desirous, perhaps, to be informed how 
it happened that these persons escaped the punishments to 
which they were condemned. This enquiry I have also 
made, but cannot return you any satisfactory answer. The 
decrees against them were indeed produced; but no record 
appears of their having ever been reversed. It was as- 
serted, however, that these people were pardoned upon their 
petition to the proconsuls, or their lieutenants; which seems 
likely to be the truth, as it is improbable any person would 
have dared to set them at liberty without authority. 


Trajan to Pliny 

You will remember you were sent into Bithynia for the 
particular purpose of correcting those many abuses which 
appeared in need of reform. Now none stands more so 
than that of criminals who have been sentenced to punish- 
ment should not only be set at liberty (as your letter in- 
forms me) without authority, but even appointed to em- 
ployments which ought only to be exercised by persons 
whose characters are irreproachable. Those therefore 
among them who have been convicted within these ten 
years, and whose sentence has not been reversed by proper 
authority, must be sent back again to their respective punish- 
ments: but where more than ten years have elapsed since 
their conviction, and they are grown old and infirm, let 
them be disposed of in such employments as are but few 
degrees removed from the punishments to which they were 

396 PLINY 

sentenced; that is, either to attend upon the public baths, 
cleanse the common sewers, or repair the streets and high' 
ways, the usual offices assigned to such persons. 


To THE Emperor Trajan 

While I was making a progress in a different part of the 
province, a most extensive fire broke out at Nicomedia, 
which not only consumed several private houses, but also 
two public buildings; the town-house and the temple of 
Isis, though they stood on contrary sides of the street. 
The occasion of its spreading thus far was partly owing 
to the violence of the wind, and partly to the indolence 
of the people, who, manifestly, stood idle and motionless 
spectators of this terrible calamity. The truth is the city 
was not furnished with either engines,^ buckets, or any 
single instrument suitable for extinguishing fires; which 
I have now however given directions to have prepared. 
You will consider, Sir, whether it may not be advisable 
to institute a company of fire-men, consisting only of one 
hundred and fifty members. I will take care none but those 
of that business shall be admitted into it, and that the 
privileges granted them shall not be applied to any other 
purpose. As this corporate body will be restricted to so 
small a number of members, it will be easy to keep them 
under proper regulation. 


Trajan to Pliny 

You are of opinion it would be proper to establish a com- 
pany of fire-men in Nicomedia, agreeably to what has been 

^ It has been generally imagined that the ancients had not the art of raising 
water by engines; but this passage seems to favour the_ contrary opinion. 
The word in the original is sipho, which Hesychius explains (as one of the 
commentators observes) " instrumentum ad jaculandas aquas adversus in- 
cendia;" "an instrument to throw up water_ against fires." But there is 
a passage in Seneca which seems to put this matter beyond conjecture, 
though none of the critics upon this place have taken notice of it: "Sole- 
tnus," says he, " duabus manibus inter se junctis aquam concipere, et com- 


practised in several other cities. But it is to be remembered 
that societies of this sort have greatly disturbed the peace 
of the province in general, and of those cities in particular. 
Whatever name we give them, and for whatever purposes 
they may be founded, they will not fail to form themselves 
into factious assemblies, however short their meetings may 
be. It will therefore be safer to provide such machines 
as are of service in extinguishing fires, enjoining the owners 
of houses to assist in preventing the mischief from spread- 
ing, and, if it should be necessary, to call in the aid of the 


To THE Emperor Trajan 

We have acquitted, Sir, and renewed our annual vows^ 
for your prosperity, in which that of the empire is essen- 
tially involved, imploring the gods to grant us ever thus 
to pay and thus to repeat them. 


Trajan to Pliny 

I RECEIVED the satisfaction, my dearest Secundus, of being 
informed by your letter that you, together with the people 
under your government, have both discharged and renewed 
your vows to the immortal gods for my health and happiness. 


To THE Emperor Trajan 

The citizens of Nicomedia, Sir, have expended three mil- 
lions three hundred and twenty-nine sesterces* in building 

pressa utrinque palma in modum sifhonts exprimere" (Q. N. 1. ii. i6); 
where we plainly see the use of this Sipho was to throw up water, and 
consequently the Romans were acquainted with that art. The account which 
Pliny gives of his fountains at Tuscum is likewise another evident proof. M. 
'^ This was an anniversary custom observed throughout the empire on the 
30th of December. M. * About $132,000. 

398 PLINY 

an aqueduct; but, not being able to finish it, the works are 
entirely falling to ruin. They made a second attempt in 
another place, where they laid out two millions." But this 
likewise is discontinued; so that, after having been at an 
immense charge to no purpose, they must still be at a 
further expense, in order to be accommodated with water. I 
have examined a fine spring from whence the water may 
be conveyed over arches (as was attempted in their first 
design) in such a manner that the higher as well as level 
and low parts of the city may be supplied. There are still 
remaining a very few of the old arches; and the square 
stones, however, employed in the former building, may be 
used in turning the new arches. I am of opinion part 
should be raised with brick, as that will be the easier and 
cheaper material. But that this work may not meet with 
the same ill-success as the former, it will be necessary to 
send here an architect, or some one skilled in the con- 
struction of this kind of waterworks. And I will venture 
to say, from the beauty and usefulness of the design, it will 
be an erection well worthy the splendour of your times. 


Trajan to Pliny 

Care must be taken to supply the city of Nicomedia with 
water; and that business, I am well persuaded, you will 
perform with all the diligence you ought. But really it 
is no less incumbent upon you to examine by whose mis- 
conduct it has happened that such large sums have been 
thrown away upon this, lest they apply the money to private 
purposes, and the aqueduct in question, like the preceding, 
should be begun, and afterwards left unfinished. You will 
let me know the result of your inquiry. 

3 About $80,000. 



To THE Emperor Trajan 

The citizens of Nicea, Sir, are building a theatre, which, 
though it is not yet finished, has already exhausted, as I 
am informed (for I have not examined the account myself), 
above ten millions of sesterces;^ and, what is worse, I fear 
to no purpose. For either from the foundation being laid 
in soft, marshy ground, or that the stone itself is light and 
crumbling, the walls are sinking, and cracked from top to 
bottom. It deserves your consideration, therefore, whether 
it would be best to carry on this work, or entirely discon- 
tinue it, or rather, perhaps, whether it would not be most 
prudent absolutely to destroy it : for the buttresses and foun- 
dations by means of which it is from time to time kept up 
appear to me more expensive than solid. Several private per- 
sons have undertaken to build the compartment of this theatre 
at their own expense, some engaging to erect the portico, 
others the galleries over the pit:" but this design cannot be 
executed, as the principal building which ought first to be 
completed is now at a stand. This city is also rebuilding, upon 
a far more enlarged plan, the gymnasium,* which was burnt 
down before my arrival in the province. They have already 
been at some (and, I rather fear, a fruitless) expense. The 
structure is not only irregular and ill-proportioned, but the 
present architect (who, it must be owned, is a rival to the 
person who was first employed) asserts that the walls, al- 
though twenty-two feet* in thickness, are not strong enough 
to support the superstructure, as the interstices are filled 
up with quarrystones, and the walls are not overlaid with 

^ About $400,000. To those who are not acquainted with the immense 
riches of the ancients, it may seem incredible that a city, and not the 
capital one either, of a conquered province should expend so large a sum 
of money upon only the shell (as it appears to be) of a theatre: but Asia 
was esteemed the most considerable part of the world for wealth; its fer- 
tility and exportations (as Tully observes) exceeding that of all other 
countries. M. 

2 The word cavea, in the original, comprehends more than what we call 
the pit in our theatres, as it means the whole space in which the spectators 
sat. These theatres being open at the top, the galleries here mentioned 
were for the convenience of retiring in bad weather. M. 

* A place in which the athletic exercises were performed, and where the 
philosophers also used to read their lectures. M. 

* The Roman foot consisted of 11.7 inches of our standard. M. 

400 PLINY 

brickwork. Also the inhabitants of Claudiopolis" are sink- 
ing (I cannot call it erecting) a large public bath, upon a 
low spot of ground which lies at the foot of a mountain. 
The fund appropriated for the carrying on of this work 
arises from the money which those honorary members you 
were pleased to add to the senate paid (or, at least, are 
ready to pay whenever I call upon them) for their ad- 
mission.* As I am afraid, therefore, the public money in the 
city of Nicea, and (what is infinitely more valuable than 
any pecuniary consideration) your bounty in that of Nico- 
polis, should be ill applied, I must desire you to send hither 
an architect to inspect, not only the theatre, but the bath ; in 
order to consider whether, after all the expense which has 
already been laid out, it will be better to finish them upon the 
present plan, or alter the one, and remove the other, in as 
far as may seem necessary : for otherwise we may perhaps 
throw away our future cost in endeavouring not to lose what 
we have already expended. 


Trajan to Pliny 

You, who are upon the spot, will best be able to con- 
sider and determine what is proper to be done concerning 
the theatre which the inhabitants of Nicea are building; 
as for myself, it will be sufficient if you let me know your 
determination. With respect to the particular parts of this 
theatre which are to be raised at a private charge, you will 
see those engagements fulfilled when the body of the build- 
ing to which they are to be annexed shall be finished. — 
These paltry Greeks^ are, I know, immoderately fond of 
gymnastic diversions, and therefore, perhaps, the citizens of 
Nicea have planned a more magnificent building for this 
purpose than is necessary; however, they must be content 

^ A colony in the district of Cataonia, in Cappadocia. 

* The honorary senators, that is, such who were not received into the 
council of the city by election, but by the appointment of the emperor, paid 
a certain surn of money upon their admission into the senate. _ M. 

^ " Graeculi. Even under the empire, with its relaxed morality and luxuri- 
ous tone, the Romans continued to apply this contemptuous designation to a 
people to whom they owed what taste for art and culture they possessed." 
Church and Brodribb. 


with such as will be sufficient to answer the purpose for 
which it is intended. I leave it entirely to you to persuade 
the Claudiopolitani as you shall think proper with regard to 
their bath, which they have placed, it seems, in a very im- 
proper situation. As there is no province that is not fur- 
nished with men of skill and ingenuity, you cannot possibly 
want architects; unless you think it the shortest way to 
procure them from Rome, when it is generally from Greece 
that they come to us. 

To THE Emperor Trajan 

When I reflect upon the splendour of your exalted sta- 
tion, and the magnanimity of your spirit, nothing, I am 
persuaded, can be more suitable to both than to point out 
to you such works as are worthy of your glorious and 
immortal name, as being no less useful than magnificent. 
Bordering upon the territories of the city of Nicomedia is 
a most extensive lake; over which marbles, fruits, woods, 
and all kinds of materials, the commodities of the country, 
are brought over in boats up to the high-road, at little 
trouble and expense, but from thence are conveyed in car- 
riages to the sea-side, at a much greater charge and with 
great labour. To remedy this inconvenience, many hands 
will be in request; but upon such an occasion they cannot 
be wanting: for the country, and particularly the city, is ex- 
ceedingly populous ; and one may assuredly hope that every 
person will readily engage in a work which will be of uni- 
versal benefit. It only remains then to send hither, if you 
shall think proper, a surveyor or an architect, in order to 
examine whether the lake lies above the level of the sea; 
the engineers of this province being of opinion that the 
former is higher by forty cubits.^ I find there is in the 
neighbourhood of this place a large canal, which was cut by 
a king of this country; but as it is left unfinished, it is 
uncertain whether it was for the purpose of draining the 
adjacent fields, or making a communication between the lake 

^ A Roman cubit is equal to i foot 5.406 inches of our measure. Arbuth- 
not's Tab. M. 

402 PLINY 

and the river. It is equally doubtful too whether the death 
of the king, or the despair of being able to accomplish the 
design, prevented the completion of it. If this w^as the rea- 
son, I am so much the more eager and warmly desirous, 
for the sake of your illustrious character (and I hope you 
will pardon me the ambition), that you may have the glory 
of executing what kings could only attempt. 


Trajan to Pliny 

There is something in the scheme you propose of opening 
a communication between the lake and the sea, which may, 
perhaps, tempt me to consent. But you must first carefully 
examine the situation of this body of water, what quantity 
it contains, and from whence it is supplied; lest, by giving 
it an opening into the sea, it should be totally drained. 
You may apply to Calpurnius Macer for an engineer, and I 
will also send you from hence some one skilled in works of 
this nature, 


To THE Emperor Trajan 

Upon examining into the public expenses of the city of 
Byzantium, which, I find, are extremely great, I was in- 
formed. Sir, that the appointments of the ambassador whom 
they send yearly to you with their homage, and the decree 
which passes in the senate upon that occasion, amount to 
twelve thousand sesterces.^ But knowing the generous 
maxims of your government, I thought proper to send the 
decree without the ambassador, that, at the same time they 
discharged their public duty to you, their expense incurred 
in the manner of paying it might be lightened. This city 
is likewise taxed with the sum of three thousand sesterces'* 
towards defraying the expense of an envoy, whom they 
annually send to compliment the governor of Moesia: this 
expense I have also directed to be spared. I beg. Sir, you 

1 About $480. a About $120. 


would deign either to confirm my judgment or correct my 
error in these points, by acquainting me with your senti- 


Trajan to Pliny 

I ENTIRELY approvc, my dearest Secundus, of your having 
excused the Byzantines that expense of twelve thousand 
sesterces in sending an ambassador to me. I shall esteem 
their duty as sufficiently paid, though I only receive the 
act of their senate through your hands. The governor of 
Moesia must likewise excuse them if they compliment him 
at a less expense. 


To THE Emperor Trajan 

I BEG, Sir, you would settle a doubt I have concerning 
your diplomas;^ whether you think proper that those 
diplomas the dates of which are expired shall continue in 
force, and for how long? For I am apprehensive I may, 
through ignorance, either confirm such of these instruments 
as are illegal or prevent the effect of those which are 


Trajan to Pliny 

The diplomas whose dates are expired must by no means 
be made use of. For which reason it is an inviolable rule 
with me to send new instruments of this kind into all the 
provinces before they are immediately wanted. 

* A diploma is properly a grant of certain privileges either to particular 
places or persons. It signifies also grants of other kinds; and it sometimes 
means post-warrants, as, perhaps, it does in this place. M. 

404 PLINY 


To THE Emperor Trajan 

Upon intimating, Sir, my intention to the city of Apamea,^ 
of examining into the state of their public dues, their 
revenue and expenses, they told me they were all extremely 
willing I should inspect their accounts, but that no proconsul 
had ever yet looked them over, as they had a privilege (and 
that of a very ancient date) of administering the affairs of 
their corporation in the manner they thought proper. I re- 
quired them to draw up a memorial of what they then as- 
serted, which I transmit to you precisely as I received it; 
though I am sensible it contains several things foreign to 
the question. I beg you will deign to instruct me as to how 
I am to act in this affair, for I should be extremely sorry 
either to exceed or fall short of the duties of my commission. 


Trajan to Pliny 

The memorial of the Apameans annexed to your letter 
has saved me the necessity of considering the reasons they 
suggest why the former proconsuls forbore to inspect their 
accounts, since they are willing to submit them to your ex- 
amination. Their honest compliance deserves to be re- 
warded; and they may be assured the enquiry you are to 
make in pursuance of my orders shall be with a full reserve 
to their privileges. 


To the Emperor Trajan 

The Nicomedians, Sir, before my arrival in this province, 
had begun to build a new forum adjoining their former, in 
a corner of which stands an ancient temple dedicated to 

1 A city in Bithynia. M. 


the mother of the gods^ This fabric must either be re- 
paired or removed, and for this reason chiefly, because it 
is a much lower building than that very lofty one which 
is now in process of erection. Upon enquiry whether this 
temple had been consecrated, I was informed that their 
ceremonies of dedication differ from ours. You will be 
pleased therefore, Sir, to consider whether a temple which 
has not been consecrated according to our rites may be 
removed,^ consistently with the reverence due to religion: 
for, if there should be no objection from that quarter, the 
removal in every other respect would be extremely con- 


Trajan to Pliny 

You may without scruple, my dearest Secundus, if the 
situation requires it, remove the temple of the mother of the 
gods, from the place where it now stands, to any other spot 
more convenient. You need be under no difficulty with 
respect to the act of dedication ; for the ground of a foreign 
city' is not capable of receiving that kind of consecration 
which is sanctified by our laws. 


To THE Emperor Trajan 

We have celebrated. Sir (with those sentiments of joy 
your virtues so justly merit), the day of your accession to 
the empire, which was also its preservation, imploring the 
gods to preserve you in health and prosperity; for upon 
your welfare the security and repose of the world depends. 
I renewed at the same time the oath of allegiance at the head 
of the army, which repeated it after me in the usual form, 
the people of the province zealously concurring in the same 

^ Cybele, Rhea, or Ops, as she is otherwise called; from whom, according 
to the pagan creed, the rest of the gods are supposed to have descended. M. 

^ Whatever was legally consecrated was ever afterwards unapplicable to 
profane uses. M. 

^ That is, a city not admitted to enjoy the laws and privileges of Rome. M. 

406 PLINY 


Trajan to Pliny 

Your letter, my dearest Secundus, was extremely accept- 
able, as it informed me of the zeal and affection with which 
you, together with the army and the provincials, solemnised 
the day of my accession to the empire. 


To THE Emperor Trajan 

The debts which we are owing to the public are, by the 
prudence, Sir, of your counsels, and the care of my admin- 
istration, either actually paid in or now being collected: 
but I am afraid the money must lie unemployed. For as 
on one side there are few or no opportunities of purchasing 
land, so, on the other, one cannot meet with any person 
who is willing to borrow of the pubHc^ (especially at 12 
per cent, interest) when they can raise money upon the 
same terms from private sources. You will consider then, 
Sir, whether it may not be advisable, in order to invite 
responsible persons to take this money, to lower the interest ; 
or if that scheme should not succeed, to place it in the hands 
of the decurii, upon their giving sufficient security to the 
public. And though they should not be willing to receive 
it, yet as the rate of interest will be diminished, the hard- 
ship will be so much the less. 


Trajan to Pliny 

I agree with you, my dear Pliny, that there seems to be 
no other method of facilitating the placing out of the public 
money than by lowering the interest; the measure of which 

1 The reason why they did not choose to borrow of the public at the 
szime rate of interest which they paid to private persons was (as one of the 
commentators observes) because in the former instance they were obliged 
to give security, whereas in the latter they could raise money upon their 
personal credit. M. 


you will determine according to the number of the borrow- 
ers. But to compel persons to receive it who are not dis- 
posed to do so, when possibly they themselves may have 
no opportunity of employing it, is by no means consistent 
with the justice of my government. 


To THE Emperor Trajan 

I return you my warmest acknowledgments. Sir, that, 
among the many important occupations in which you are 
engaged you have condescended to be my guide on those 
points on which I have consulted you: a favour which I 
must now again beseech you to grant me. A certain 
person presented himself with a complaint that his ad- 
versaries, who had been banished for three years by the 
illustrious Servilius Calvus, still remained in the province: 
they, on the contrary, affirmed that Calvus had revoked 
their sentence, and produced his edict to that effect. I 
thought it necessary therefore to refer the whole affair to 
you. For as I have your express orders not to restore any 
person who has been sentenced to banishment either by 
myself or others so I have no directions with respect to 
those who, having been banished by some of my prede- 
cessors in this government, have by them also been restored. 
It is necessary for me, therefore, to beg you would inform 
me. Sir, how I am to act with regard to the above-mentioned 
persons, as well as others, who, after having been con- 
demned to perpetual banishment, have been found in the 
province without permission to return; for cases of that 
nature have likewise fallen under my cognisance. A person 
was brought before me who had been sentenced to perpetual 
exile by the proconsul Julius Bassus, but knowing that the 
acts of Bassus, during his administration, had been rescinded, 
and that the senate had granted leave to all those who had 
fallen under his condemnation of appealing from his decision 
at any time within the space of two years, I enquired of this 
man whether he had, accordingly, stated his case to the 
proconsul. He replied he had not. I beg then you would 

408 PLINY 

inform me whether you would have him sent back into exile 
or whether you think some more severe and what kind of 
punishment should be inflicted upon him, and such others who 
may hereafter be found under the same circumstances. I 
have annexed to my letter the decree of Calvus, and the edict 
by which the persons above-mentioned were restored, as also 
the decree of Bassus. 


Trajan to Pliny 

I WILL let you know my determination concerning those 
exiles which were banished for three years by the pro- 
consul P. Servilius Calvus, and soon afterwards restored to 
the province by his edict, when I shall have informed my- 
self from him of the reasons of this proceeding. With 
respect to that person who was sentenced to perpetual 
banishment by Julius Bassus, yet continued to remain in 
the province, without making his appeal if he thought 
himself aggrieved (though he had two years given him for 
that purpose), I would have sent in chains to my praetorian 
prefects:^ for, only to remand him back to a punishment 
which he has contumaciously eluded will by no means be 
a sufficient punishment. 


To THE Emperor Trajan 

When I cited the judges. Sir, to attend me at a sessions^ 
which I was going to hold, Flavius Archippus claimed the 
privilege of being excused as exercising the profession of 
a philosopher.^ It was alleged by some who were present 
that he ought not only to be excused from that office, but 

''■ These, in the original institution as settled by Augustus, were only 
commanders of his body-guards; but in the later thnes of the Roman 
empire they were next in authority under the emperor, to whom they seem 
to have acted as a sort of prime ministers. M. 

2 The provinces were divided into a kind of circuits called conventus, 
whither the proconsuls used to go in order to administer justice. The 
judges here mentioned must not be understood to mean the same sort of 
judicial officers as with us; they rather answered to our juries. M. 

3 By the imperial constitutions the philosophers were exempted from all 
public functions. Catanaeus. M. 


even struck out of the rolls of judges, and remanded back to 
the punishment from which he had escaped, by breaking 
his chains. At the same time a sentence of the proconsul 
Velius Paullus was read, by which it appeared that Ar- 
chippus had been condemned to the mines for forgery. He 
had nothing to produce in proof of this sentence having 
ever been reversed. He alleged, however, in favour of his 
restitution, a petition which he presented to Domitian, 
together with- a letter from that prince, and a decree of 
the Prusensians in his honour. To these he subjoined a 
letter which he had received from you; as also an edict 
and a letter of your august father confirming the grants 
which had been made to him by Domitian. For these 
reasons, notwithstanding crimes of so atrocious a nature 
were laid to his charge, I did not think proper to determine 
anything concerning him, without first consulting with you, 
as it is an affair which seems to merit your particular de- 
cision. I have transmitted to you, with this letter, the sev- 
eral allegations on both sides. 

Domitian's Letter to Terentius Maximus 

"Flavius Archippus the philosopher has prevailed with 
me to give an order that six hundred thousand sesterces' 
be laid out in the purchase of an estate for the support of 
him and his family, in the neighbourhood of Prusias,* his 
native country. Let this be accordingly done; and place 
that sum to the account of my benefactions." 

From the Same to L. Appius Maximus 

" I recommend, my dear Maximus, to your protection 
that worthy philosopher Archippus; a person whose moral 
conduct is agreeable to the principles of the philosophy he 
professes; and I would have you pay entire regard to what- 
ever he shall reasonably request." 

* About $24,000. 

* Geographers are not agreed where to place this city; Cellarius conjec- 
tures it may possibly be the same with Prusa ad Olympum, Prusa at the 
foot of Mount Olympus in Mysia. 

410 PLINY 

The Edict of the Emperor Nerva 

" There are some points no doubt, Quirites, concerning 
which the happy tenour of my government is a sufficient 
indication of my sentiments; and a good prince need not 
give an express declaration in matters wherein his inten- 
tion cannot but be clearly understood. Every citizen in 
the empire will bear me witness that I gave up my private 
repose to the security of the public, and in order that I 
might have the pleasure of dispensing new bounties of my 
own, as also of confirming those which had been granted 
by predecessors. But lest the memory of him" who con- 
ferred these grants, or the diffidence of those who received 
them, should occasion any interruption to the public joy, I 
thought it as necessary as it is agreeable to me to obviate 
these suspicions by assuring them of my indulgence. I 
do not wish any man who has obtained a private or a 
public privilege from one of the former emperors to 
imagine he is to be deprived of such a privilege, merely 
that he may owe the restoration of it to me; nor need any 
who have received the gratifications of imperial favour 
petition me to have them confirmed. Rather let them leave 
me at leisure for conferring new grants, under the assur- 
ance that I am only to be solicited for those bounties which 
have not already been obtained, and which the happier 
fortune of the empire has put it in ray power to bestow." 

From the Same to Tullius Justus 

" Since I have publicly decreed that all acts begun and 
accomplished in former reigns should be confirmed, the let- 
ters of Domitian must remain valid." 


To THE Emperor Trajan 

Flavius Archippus has conjured me, by all my vows for 
your prosperity, and by your immortal glory, that I would 

^ Domitian. 


transmit to you the memorial which he presented to me. 
I could not refuse a request couched in such terms; how- 
ever, I acquainted the prosecutrix with this my intention, 
from whom I have also received a memorial on her part. 
I have annexed them both to this letter ; that by hearing, 
as it were, each party, you may the better be enabled to 


Trajan to Pliny 

I It is possible that Domitian might have been ignorant 

f of the circumstances in which Archippus was when he wrote 

[ the letter so much to that philosopher's credit. However, 

} it is more agreeable to my disposition to suppose that prince 

I designed he should be restored to his former situation; 

I especially since he so often had the honour of a statue de- 

1 creed to him by those who could not be ignorant of the 

I sentence pronounced against him by the proconsul PauUus. 

But I do not mean to intimate, my dear Pliny, that if any 
new charge should be brought against him, you should be 
the less disposed to hear his accusers. I have examined 
the memorial of his prosecutrix, Furia Prima, as well as 
that of Archippus himself, which you sent with your last 


To THE Emperor Trajan 

The apprehensions you express, Sir, that the lake will 
be in danger of being entirely drained if a communication 
should be opened between that and the sea, by means of 
the river, are agreeable to that prudence and forethought 
you so eminently possess; but I think I have found a 
method to obviate that inconvenience. A channel may be 
cut from the lake up to the river so as not quite to join 
them, leaving just a narrow strip of land between, pre- 
serving the lake; by this means it will not only be kept 
quite separate from the river, but all the same purposes 
will be answered as if they were united: for it will be 

412 PLINY 

extremely easy to convey over that little intervening ridge 
whatever goods shall be brought down by the canal. This 
is a scheme which may be pursued, if it should be found 
necessary; but I hope there will be no occasion to have re- 
course to 'it. For, in the first place, the lake itself is pretty 
deep; and in the next, by damming up the river which runs 
from it on the opposite side and turning its course as we 
shall find expedient, the same quantity of water may be 
retained. Besides, there are several brooks near the place 
where it is proposed the channel shall be cut which, if 
skilfully collected, will supply the lake with water in pro- 
portion to what it shall discharge. But if you should rather 
approve of the channel's being extended farther and cut 
narrower, and so conveyed directly into the sea, without 
running into the river, the reflux of the tide will return 
whatever it receives from the lake. After all, if the nature 
of the place should not admit of any of these schemes, the 
course of the water may be checked by sluices. These, how- 
ever, and many other particulars, will be more skilfully 
examined into by the engineer, whom, indeed, Sir, you 
ought to send, according to your promise, for it is an enter- 
prise well worthy of your attention and magnificence. In 
the meanwhile, I have written to the illustrious Calpurnius 
Macer, in pursuance of your orders, to send me the most 
skilful engineer to be had. 


Trajan to Pliny 

It is evident, my dearest Secundus, that neither your 
prudence nor your care has been wanting in this affair of 
the lake, since, in order to render it of more general benefit, 
you have provided so many expedients against the danger 
of its being drained. I leave it to your own choice to pur- 
sue whichever of the schemes shall be thought most proper. 
Calpurnius Macer will furnish you, no doubt, with an 
engineer, as artificers of that kind are not wanting in his 



To THE Emperor Trajan 

A VERY considerable question, Sir, in which the whole 
province is interested, has been lately started, concerning 
the state^ and maintenance of deserted children.^ I have 
examined the constitutions of former princes upon this 
head, but not finding anything in them relating, either in 
general or particular, to the Bithynians, I thought it 
necessary to apply to you for your directions : for in a point 
which seems to require the special interposition of your 
authority, I could not content myself with following prec- 
edents. An edict of the emperor Augustus (as pretended) 
was read to me, concerning one Annia ; as also a letter from 
Vespasian to the Lacedaemonians, and another from Titus to 
the same, with one likewise from him to the Achaeans, also 
some letters from Domitian, directed to the proconsuls 
Avidius Nigrinus and Armenius Brocchus, together with one 
from that prince to the Lacedaemonians: but I have not 
transmitted them to you, as they were not correct (and some 
of them too of doubtful authenticity), and also because I im- 
agine the true copies are preserved in your archWes. 


Trajan to Pliny 

The question concerning children who were exposed by 
their parents, and afterwards preserved by others, and 
educated in a state of servitude, though born free, has been 
frequently discussed; but I do not find in the constitutions 
of the princes my predecessors any general regulation upon 
this head, extending to all the provinces. There are, indeed, 

^That is, whether they should be considered in a state of freedom or 
slavery. M. 

2 " Parents throughout the entire ancient world had the right to expose 
their children and leave them to their fate. Hence would sometimes arise 
the question whether such a child, if found and brought up by another, 
was entitled to his freedom, whether also the person thus adopting him 
must grant him his freedom without repayment for the cost of mainte- 
nance." Church and Brodribb. 

<14 PLINY 

some rescripts of Domitian to Avidius Nigrinus and Armenius 
Brocchus, which ought to be observed; but Bithynia is not 
comprehended in the provinces therein mentioned. I am of 
opinion therefore that the claims of those who assert their 
right of freedom upon this footing should be allowed; with- 
out obliging them to purchase their liberty by repaying the 
money advanced for their maintenance.^ 


To THE Emperor Trajan 

Having been petitioned by some persons to grant them 
the liberty (agreeably to the practice of former proconsuls) 
of removing the relics of their deceased relations, upon 
the suggestion that either their monuments were decayed 
by age or ruined by the inundations of the river, or for 
other reasons of the same kind, I thought proper, Sir, know- 
ing that in cases of this nature it is usual at Rome to apply 
to the college of priests, to consult you, who are the sovereign 
of that sacred order, as to how you would have me act in 
this case. 


Trajan to Pliny 

It will be a hardship upon the provincials to oblige them 
to address themselves to the college of priests whenever they 
may have just reasons for removing the ashes of their 
ancestors. In this case, therefore, it will be better you should 
follow the example of the governors your predecessors, and 
grant or deny them this liberty as you shall see reasonable. 

>• " This decision of Trajan, the effect of which would be that persons 
would be slow to adopt an abandoned child which, when brought up, its 
unnatural parents could claim back without any compensation for its nur- 
ture, seems harsh, and we find that it was disregarded by the later emperors 
in their legal decisions on the subject." Church and Brodribb. 



To THE Emperor Trajan 

I HAVE enquired, Sir, at Prusa, for a proper place on 
which to erect the bath you were pleased to allow that 
city to build, and I have found one to my satisfaction. It 
is upon the site where formerly, I am told, stood a very 
beautiful mansion, but which is now entirely fallen into 
ruins. By fixing upon that spot, we shall gain the advan- 
tage of ornamenting the city in a part which at present is 
exceedingly deformed, and enlarging it at the same time 
without removing any of the buildings ; only restoring one 
which is fallen to decay. There are some circumstances 
attending this structure of which it is proper I should inform 
you. Claudius Polyaenus bequeathed it to the emperor 
Claudius Caesar, with directions that a temple should be 
erected to that prince in a colonnade-court, and that the 
remainder of the house should be let in apartments. The 
city received the rents for a considerable time; but partly 
by its having been plundered, and partly by its being neg- 
lected, the whole house, colonnade-court, and all, is entirely 
gone to ruin, and there is now scarcely anything remaining 
of it but the ground upon which it stood. If you shall think 
proper, Sir, either to give or sell this spot of ground to the 
city, as it lies so conveniently for their purpose, they will 
receive it as a most particular favour. I intend, with your 
permission, to place the bath in the vacant area, and to 
extend a range of porticoes with seats in that part where 
the former edifice stood. This new erection I purpose dedi- 
cating to you, by whose bounty it will rise with all the 
elegance and magnificence worthy of your glorious name. 
I have sent you a copy of the will, by which, though it is 
inaccurate, you will see that Polyaenus left several articles 
of ornament for the embellishment of this house; but these 
also are lost with all the rest: I will, however, make the 
strictest enquiry after them that I am able. 

416 PLINY 


Trajan to Pliny 

I HAVE no objection to the Prusenses making use of the 
ruined court and house, which you say are untenanted, for 
the erection of their bath. But it is not sufficiently clear 
by your letter whether the temple in the centre of the 
colonnade-court was actually dedicated to Claudius or not; 
for if it were, it is still consecrated ground/ 


To THE Emperor Trajan 

I HAVE been pressed by some persons to take upon my- 
self the enquiry of causes relating to claims of freedom 
by birth-right, agreeably to a rescript of Domitian's to 
Minucius Rufus, and the practice of former proconsuls. 
But upon casting my eye on the decree of the senate 
concerning cases of this nature, I find it only mentions 
the proconsular provinces.^ I have therefore. Sir, de- 
ferred interfering in this affair, till I shall receive your 
instructions as to how you would have me proceed. 


Trajan to Pliny 

If you will send me the decree of the senate, which 
occasioned your doubt, I shall be able to judge whether it 
is proper you should take upon yourself the enquiry of 
causes relating to claims of freedom by birth-right. 

1 And consequently by the Roman laws unapplicable to any other pur- 
pose. M. 

^ The Roman provinces in the times of the emperors were of two sorts: 
those which were distinguished by the name of the provinciae Caesaris and 
the provinciae senatus. The proinnciae Caesaris, or imperial provinces, were 
such as the emperor, for reasons of policy, reserved to his own immediate 
administration, or of those whom he thought proper to appoint: the pro- 
vinciae senatus, or proconsular provinces, were such as he left to the gov- 
ernment of proconsuls or praetors, chosen in the ordinary method of election. 
(Vid. Suet, in Aug. c. 47.) Of the former kind was Bithynia, at the time 
when our author presided there. (Vid. Masson. Vit. Plin. p. 133.) M. 



To THE Emperor Trajan 

Julius Largus, of Ponus* (a person whom I never saw 
nor indeed ever heard his name till lately), in confidence, 
Sir, of your distinguishing judgment in my favour, has 
entrusted me with the execution of the last instance of his 
loyalty towards you. He has left me, by his will, his 
estate upon trust, in the first place to receive out of it fifty 
thousand sesterces^ for my own use, and to apply the re- 
mainder for the benefit of the cities of Heraclea and 
Tios,* either by erecting some public edifice dedicated to 
your honour or instituting athletic games, according as I 
shall judge proper. These games are to be celebrated 
every five years, and to be called Trajan's games. My 
principal reason for acquainting you with this bequest is 
that I may receive your directions which of the respective 
alternatives to choose. 


Trajan to Pliny 

By the prudent choice Julius Largus has made of a 
trustee, one would imagine he had known you perfectly 
well. You will consider then what will most tend to 
perpetuate his memory, under the circumstances of the 
respective cities, and make your option accordingly. 


To THE Emperor Trajan 

You acted agreeably. Sir, to your usual prudence and 
foresight in ordering the illustrious Calpurnius Macer to 
send a legionary centurion to Byzantium: you will con- 

^ A province in Asia, bordering upon the Black Sea, and by some ancient 
geographers considered as one province with Bithynia. M. 
" About $2,000. M. 
' Cities of Pontus near the Euxine or Black Sea. M . 

14 — HC IX 

418 PLINY 

sider whether the city of Juliopolis* does not deserve the 
same regard, which, though it is extremely small, sustains 
very great burthens, and is so much the more exposed to 
injuries as it is less capable of resisting them. Whatever 
benefits you shall confer upon that city will in effect be 
advantageous to the whole country; for it is situated at 
the entrance of Bithynia, and is the town through which 
all who travel into this province generally pass. 


Trajan to Pliny 

The circumstances of the city of Byzantium are such, by 
the great confluence of strangers to it, that I held it in- 
cumbent upon me, and consistent with the customs of 
former reigns, to send thither a legionary centurion's guard 
to preserve the privileges of that state. But if we should 
disting^iish the city of Juliopolis in the same way, it will 
be introducing a precedent for many others, whose claim 
to that favour will rise in proportion to their want of 
strength. I have so much confidence, however, in your 
administration as to believe you will omit no method of 
protecting them from injuries. If any persons shall act 
contrary to the discipline I have enjoined, let them be 
instantly corrected; or if they happen to be soldiers, and 
their crimes should be too enormous for immediate chas- 
tisement, I would have them sent to their officers, with an 
account of the particular misdemeanour you shall find they 
have been guilty of; but if the delinquents should be on 
their way to Rome, inform me by letter. 


To THE Emperor Trajan 

By a law of Pompey's' concerning the Bithynians, it is 
enacted. Sir, that no person shall be a magistrate, or be 

1 Gordium, the old capital of Phrygia. It afterwards, in the reign of 
the Emperor Augustus, received the name of Juliopolis. (See Smith's 
Classical Diet.) 

'^ Pompey the Great having subdued Mithridates, and by that means greatly 


chosen into the senate, under the age of thirty. By the 
same law it is declared that those who have exercised the 
office of magistrate are qualified to be members of the senate. 
Subsequent to this law, the emperor Augustus published 
an edict, by which it was ordained that persons of the age 
of twenty-two should be capable of being magistrates. 
The question therefore is whether those who have exercised 
the functions of a magistrate before the age of thirty may 
be legally chosen into the senate by the censors?" And 
if so, whether, by the same kind of construction, they may 
be elected senators, at the age which entitles them to be 
magistrates, though they should not actually have borne 
any office? A custom which, it seems, has hitherto been 
observed, and is said to be expedient, as it is rather better 
that persons of noble birth should be admitted into the 
senate than those of plebeian rank. The censors elect having 
desired my sentiments upon this point, I was of opinion 
that both by the law of Pompey and the edict of Augustus 
those who had exercised the magistracy before the age of 
thirty might be chosen into the senate ; and for this 
reason, because the edict allows the office of magistrate to 
be undertaken before thirty; and the law declares that 
^whoever has been a magistrate should be eligible for the 
senate. But with respect to those who never discharged 
any office in the state, though they were of the age required 
for that purpose, I had some doubt: and therefore, Sir, 
I apply to you for your directions. I have subjoined to 
this letter the heads of the law, together with the edict of 


Trajan to Pliny 

I AGREE with you, my dearest Secundus, in your con- 
struction, and, am of opinion that the law of Pompey is so 
far repealed by the edict of the emperor Augustus that 

enlarged the Roman empire, passed several laws relating to the newly con- 
quered provinces, and, among others, that which is here mentioned. M. 

2 The right of electing senators did not originally belong to the censors, 
who were only, as Cicero somewhere calls them, guardians of the discipline 
and manners of the city; but in process of time they engrossed the whole 
privilege of conferring that honour. M, 

420 PLT>rY 

those persons wlio are not less than twenty-two years of 
age may execute the office of magistrates, and, when they 
have, may be received into the senate of their respective 
cities. But I think that they who are under thirty years 
of age, and have not discharged the function of a magis- 
trate, cannot, upon pretence that in point of years they 
were competent to the office, legally be elected into the 
senate of their several communities. 


To THE Emperor Trajan 

Whilst I was despatching some public affairs, Sir, at my 
apartments in Prusa, at the foot of Olympus, with the in- 
tention of leaving that city th« same day, the magistrate 
Asclepiades informed me that Eumolpus had appealed to 
me from a motion which Cocceianus Dion made in their 
senate. Dion, it seems, having been appointed supervisor 
of a public building, desired that it might be assigned^ to 
the city in form. Eumolpus, who was counsel for Flavins 
Archippus, insisted that Dion should first be required to 
deliver in his accounts relating to this work, before it was 
assigned to the corporation; suggesting that he had not 
acted in the manner he ought. He added, at the same time, 
that in this building, in which your statue is erected, the 
bodies of Dion's wife and son are entombed,' and urged 
me to hear this cause in the public court of judicature. 
Upon my at once assenting to his request, and deferring 
my journey for that purpose, he desired a longer day in 
order to prepare matters for hearing, and that I would try 
this cause in some other city. I appointed the city of Nicea ; 
where, when I had taken my seat, the same Eumolpus, pre- 
tending not to be yet sufficiently instructed, moved that the 

*• This, probably, was some act whereby the city was to ratify and con- 
firm the proceedings of Dion under the commission assigned to him. 

* It was a notion which generally prevailed with the ancients, in the 
Jewish as well as heathen world, that there was a pollution in the contact 
of dead bodies, and this they extended to the very house in which the corpse 
lay, and even to the uncovered vessels that stood in the same room. (Vid. 
Pot. Antiq. v. ii. i8i.) From some such opinion as this it is probable that 
the circumstance here mentioned, of placing Trajan's statue where these 
bodies were deposited, was esteemed as a mark of disrespect to his person. 


trial might be again put off: Dion, on the contrary, insisted 
it should be heard. They debated this point very fully on 
both sides, and entered a little into the merits of the cause; 
when being of opinion that it was reasonable it should be 
adjourned, and thinking it proper to consult with you in an 
affair which was of consequence in point of precedent, I 
directed them to exhibit the articles of their respective alle- 
gations in writing; for I was desirous you should judge 
from their own representations of the state of the question 
between them. Dion promised to comply with this direction 
and Eumolpus also assured me he would draw up a memorial 
of what he had to allege on the part of the community. But 
he added that, being only concerned as advocate on behalf 
of Archippus, whose instructions he had laid before me, 
he had no charge to bring with respect to the sepulchres. 
Archippus, however, for whom Eumolpus was counsel here, 
as at Prusa, assured me he would himself present a charge 
in form upon this head. But neither Eumolpus nor Archip- 
pus (though I have waited several days for that purpose) 
have yet performed their engagement: Dion indeed has; 
and I have annexed his memorial to this letter. I have 
inspected the buildings in question, where I find your statue 
is placed in a library, and as to the edifice in which the 
bodies of Dion's wife and son are said to be deposited, it 
stands in the middle of a court, which is enclosed with a 
colonnade. Deign, therefore, I entreat you, Sir, to direct 
my judgment in the determination of this cause above all 
others as it is a point to which the public is greatly atten- 
tive, and necessarily so, since the fact is not only acknowl- 
edged, but countenanced by many precedents. 


Trajan to Pliny 

You well know, my dearest Secundus, that it is my 
standing maxim not to create an awe of my person by 
severe and rigorous measures, and by construing every 
slight offence into an act of treason; you had no reason, 
therefore, to hesitate a moment upon the point concerning 

132 PLINY 

which you thought proper to consult me. Without entering 
therefore into the merits of that question (to which I would 
by no means give any attention, though there were ever 
so many instances of the same kind), I recommend to your 
care the examination of Dion's accounts relating to the 
public works which he has finished; as it is a case in which 
the interest of the city is concerned, and as Dion neither 
ought nor, it seems, does refuse to submit to the exam- 


To THE Emperor Trajan 

The Niceans having, in the name of their community, 
conjured me, Sir, by all my hopes and wishes for your 
prosperity and immortal glory (an adjuration which is and 
ought to be most sacred to me), to present to you their 
petition, I did not think myself at liberty to refuse them: 
I have therefore annexed it to this letter. 


Trajan to Pliny 

The Niceans I find, claim a right, by an edict of Augustus, 
to the estate of every citizen who dies intestate. You will 
therefore summon the several parties interested in this 
question, and, examining these pretensions, with the assist- 
ance of the procurators Virdius Gemellinus, and Epimachus, 
my freedman (having duly weighed every argument that shall 
be alleged against the claim), determine as shall appear 
most equitable. 


To THE Emperor Trajan 

May this and many succeeding birthdays be attended, Sir, 
with the highest felicity to you ; and may you, in the midst 
of an uninterrupted course of health and prosperity, be 


still adding to the increase of that immortal glory which 
your virtues justly merit! 


Trajan to Pliny 

Your wishes, my dearest Secundus, for my enjoyment of 
many happy birthdays amidst the glory and prosperity of 
the republic were extremely agreeable to me. 


To THE Emperor Trajan 

The inhabitants of Sinope' are ill supplied, Sir, with water, 
which however may be brought thither from about sixteen 
miles' distance in great plenty and perfection. The ground, 
indeed, near the source of this spring is, for rather over 
a mile, of a very suspicious and marshy nature; but I have 
directed an examination to be made (which will be effected 
at a small expense) whether it is sufficiently firm to support 
any superstructure. I have taken care to provide a suffi- 
cient fund for this purpose, if you should approve. Sir, of 
a work so conducive to the health and enjoyment of this 
colony, greatly distressed by a scarcity of water. 


Trajan to Pliny 

I WOULD have you proceed, my dearest Secundus, in care- 
fully examining whether the ground you suspect is firm 
enough to support an aqueduct. For I have no manner of 
doubt that the Sinopian colony ought to be supplied with 
water; provided their finances will bear the expense of a 
work so conducive to their health and pleasure. 

"•A thriving Greek colony in the territory of Sinopis, on the Euxine. 

424 PLINY 


To THE Emperor Trajan 

The free and confederate city of the Amiseni^ enjoys, 
by your indulgence, the privilege of its own laws. A me- 
morial being presented to me there, concerning a charitable 
institution/ I have subjoined it to this letter, that you may 
consider, Sir, whether, and how far, this society ought to 
be licensed or prohibited 


Trajan to Pliny 

If the petition of the Amiseni which you have transmitted 
' to me, concerning the establishment of a charitable society, 
be agreeable to their ovra laws, which by the articles of 
alliance it is stipulated they shall enjoy, I shall not oppose 
it; especially if these contributions are employed, not for 
the purpose of riot and faction, but for the support of the 
indigent. In other cities, however, which are subject to 
our laws, I would have all assemblies of this nature prohib- 


To THE Emperor Trajan 

Suetonius Tranquillus, Sir, is a most excellent, honour- 
able, and learned man. I was so much pleased with his tastes 
and disposition that I have long since invited him into my 
family, as my constant guest and domestic friend; and my 
affection for him increased the more I knew of him. Two 
reasons concur to render the privilege* which the law grants 

^ A colony of Athenians in the province of Pontus. Their town, Amisus, 
on the coast, xyas one of the residences of Mithridates. 

" Casaubon, in his observations upon Theophrastus (as cited by one of 
the commentators) informs us that there were at Athens and other cities 
of Greece certain fraternities which paid into a common chest a monthly 
contribution towards the support of such of their members who had fallen 
into misfortunes; upon condition that, if ever they arrived to more pros- 
perous circumstances, they should repay into the general fund the money 
so advanced. M. 

8 By the -law for encouragement of matrimony (some account of which 
has already been given in the notes above), as a penalty upon those who 


to those who have three children particularly necessary to 
him ; I mean the bounty of his friends, and the ill-success 
of his marriage. Those advantages, therefore, which na- 
ture has denied to him, he hopes to obtain from your good- 
ness, by my intercession. I am thoroughly sensible. Sir, 
of the value of the privilege I am asking; but I know, too, 
I am asking it from one whose gracious compliance with 
all my desires I have amply experienced. How passion- 
ately I wish to do so in the present instance, you will judge 
by my thus requesting it in my absence; which I would not, 
had it not been a favour which I am more than ordinarily 
anxious to obtain. 


Trajan to Pliny 

You cannot but be sensible, my dearest Secundus, how re- 
served I am in granting favours of the kind you desire; 
having frequently declared in the senate that I had not 
exceeded the number of which I assured that illustrious 
order I would be contented with. I have yielded, however, 
to your request, and have directed an article to be inserted 
in my register, that I have conferred upon Tranquillus, on 
my usual conditions, the privilege which the law grants to 
these who have three children. 


To THE Emperor Trajan 

It is my invariable rule, Sir, to refer to you in all mat- 
ters where I feel doubtful; for who is more capable of 
removing my scruples, or informing my ignorance? Hav- 
ing never been present at any trials concerning those who 

lived bachelors, they were declared incapable of inheriting any legacy by 
will; so likewise, if being married, they had no children, they could not 
claim the full advantage of benefactions of that kind. 

^ This letter is esteemed as almost the only genuine monument of eccle- 
siastical antiquity relating to the times immed.iately succeeding the Apostles, 
it being written at most not above forty years after the death of St. Paul. 
It was preserved by the Christians^ themselves as a clear and unsuspicious 
evidence of the purity of their doctrines, and is frequently appealed to by the 
early writers of the Church against the calumnies of their adversaries. M. 

426 PLINY 

profess Christianity, I am unacquainted not only with the 
nature of their crimes, or the measure of tjieir punish- 
ment, but how far it is proper to enter into an examina- 
tion concerning them. Whether, therefore, any difference 
is usually made with respect to ages, or no distinction is 
to be observed between the young and the adult; whether 
repentance entitles them to a pardon; or if a man has been 
once a Christian, it avails nothing to desist from his error; 
whether the very profession of Christianity, unattended with 
any criminal act, or only the crimes themselves inherent in 
the profession are punishable; on all these points I am in 
great doubt. In the meanwhile, the method I have observed 
towards those who have been brought before me as Chris- 
tians is this: I asked them whether they were Christians; 
if they admitted it, I repeated the question twice, and threat- 
ened them with punishment; if they persisted, I ordered 
them to be at once punished: for I was persuaded, what- 
ever the nature of their opinions might be, a contumacious 
and inflexible obstinacy certainly deserved correction. 
There were others also brought before me possessed with 
the same infatuation, but being Roman citizens,* I directed 
them to be sent to Rome. But this crime spreading (as is 
usually the case) while it was actually under prosecution, 
several instances of the same nature occurred. An anony- 
mous information was laid before me containing a charge 
against several persons, who upon examination denied they 
were Christians, or had ever been so. They repeated after 
me an invocation to the gods, and offered religious rites 
with wine and incense before your statue (which for that 
purpose I had ordered to be brought, together with those 
of the gods), and even reviled the name of Christ: whereas 
there is no forcing, it is said, those who are really Chris- 
tians into any of these compliances : I thought it proper, 
therefore, to discharge them. Some among those who were 
accused by a witness in person at first confessed themselves 
Christians, but immediately after denied it; the rest owned 
indeed that they had been of that number formerly, but had 

2 It was one of the privileges of a Roman citizen, secured by the Sempro- 
nian law, that he could not be capitally convicted but by the suffrage of the 
people; which seems to have been still so far in force as to make it neees- 
sary to send the persons here mentioned to Rome. M. 



now (some above three, others more, and a few above twenty 
years ago) renounced that error. They all worshipped 
your statue and the images of the gods, uttering impreca- 
tions at the same time against the name of Christ. They 
affirmed the whole of their guilt, or their error, was, that 
they met on a stated day before it was light, and addressed 
a form of prayer to Christ, as to a divinity, binding them- 
selves by a solemn oath, not for the purposes of any wicked 
design, but never to commit any fraud, theft, or adultery, 
never to falsify their word, nor deny a trust when they 
should be called upon to deliver it up ; after which it was their 
custom to separate, and then reassemble, to eat in common 
a harmless meal. From this custom, however, they de- 
sisted after the publication of my edict, by which, according 
to your commands, I forbade the meeting of any assemblies. 
After receiving this account, I judged it so much the more 
necessary to endeavor to extort the real truth, by putting 
two female slaves to the torture, who were said to offici- 
ate' in their religious rites: but all I could discover was 
evidence of an absurd and extravagant superstition. I 
deemed it expedient, therefore, to adjourn all further pro- 
ceedings, in order to consult you. For it appears to be a 
matter highly deserving your consideration, more espe- 
cially as great numbers must be involved in the danger of 
these prosecutions, which have already extended, and are 
still likely to extend, to persons of all ranks and ages, and 
even of both sexes. In fact, this contagious superstition 
is not confined to the cities only, but has spread its infec- 
tion among the neighbouring villages and country. Never- 
theless, it still seems possible to restrain its progress. 
The temples, at least, which were once almost deserted, 
begin now to be frequented; and the sacred rites, after a 
long intermission, are again revived; while there is a gen- 
eral demand for the victims, which till lately found very few 
purchasers. From all this it is easy to conjecture what 
numbers might be reclaimed if a general pardon were granted 
to those who shall repent of their error. 

^ These women, it is supposed, exercised the same office as Phoebe men- 
tioned by St. Paul, whom he styles deaconess of the church of Cenchrea. 
Their business was to tend the poor and sick, and other charitable offices; 
as also to assist at the ceremony of female baptism, for the more decent 
performance of that rite: as Vossius observes upon this passage. M. 

428 PLINY 


Trajan to Pliny 

You have adopted the right course, my dearest Secundus, 
in investigating the charges against the Christians who 
were brought before you. It is not possible to lay down 
any general rule for all such cases. Do not go out of your 
way to look for them. If indeed they should be brought 
before you, and the crime is proved, they must be punished ;* 
with the restriction, however, that where the party denies 
he is a Christian, and shall make it evident that he is not, 
by invoking our gods, let him (notwithstanding any former 
suspicion) be pardoned upon his repentance. Anonymous 
informations ought not to be received in any sort of prose- 
cution. It is introducing a very dangerous precedent, 
and is quite foreign to the spirit of our age. 


To THE Emperor Trajan 

The elegant and beautiful city of Amastris," Sir, has, 
among other principal constructions, a very fine street and 
of considerable length, on one entire side of which runs 
what is called indeed a river, but in fact is no other than a 
vile common sewer, extremely offensive to the eye, and at 
the same time very pestilential on account of its noxious 
smell. It will be advantageous, therefore, in point of 
health, as well as decency, to have it covered; which shall 

1 If we impartially examine this prosecution of the _ Christians, we shall 
find it to have been grounded on the ancient constitution of the state, and 
not to have proceeded from a cruel or arbitrary temper in Trajan. _ The 
Roman legislature appears to have been early jealous of any innovation m 
point of public worship; and we find the magistrates, during the old republic, 
frequently interposing in cases of that nature. Valerius Maximus has_ col- 
lected some instances to that purpose (L. i. c. 3), and Livy mentions it as 
an established principle of the earlier ages of the commonwealth, to guard 
against the introduction of foreign ceremonies of religion. It was an old 
and fixed maxim likewise of the Roman government not to suffer any un- 
licensed assemblies of the people. From hence it seems evident that the 
Christians had rendered themselves obnoxious not so much to Trajan as to 
the ancient and settled laws of the state, by introducing a foreign worship, 
and assembling themselves without authority. M. 

* On the coast of Paphlagonia. 


be done with your permission : as I will take care, on my 
part, that money be not wanting for executing so noble 
and necessary a work. 


Trajan to Pliny 

It is highly reasonable, my dearest Secundus, if the 
water which runs through the city of Amastris is preju- 
dicial, while uncovered, to the health of the inhabitants, 
that it should be covered up. I am well assured you will, 
with your usual application, take care that the money 
necessary for this work shall not be wanting. 


To THE Emperor Trajan 

We have celebrated. Sir, with great joy and festivity, 
those votive solemnities which were publicly proclaimed 
as formerly, and renewed them the present year, accom- 
panied by the soldiers and provincials, who zealously 
joined with us in imploring the gods that they would be 
graciously pleased to preserve you and the republic in 
that state of prosperity which your many and great virtues, 
particularly your piety and reverence towards them, so 
justly merit. 


Trajan to Pliny 

It was agreeable to me to learn by your letter that the 
army and the provincials seconded you, with the most 
joyful unanimity, in those vows which you paid and re- 
newed to the immortal gods for my preservation and pros- 

430 PLINY 


To THE Emperor Trajan 

We have celebrated, with all the warmth of that pious 
zeal we justly ought, the day on which, by a most happy 
succession, the protection of mankind was committed over 
into your hands; recommending to the gods, from whom 
you received the empire, the object of your public vows 
and congratulations. 


Trajan to Pliny 

I WAS extremely well pleased to be informed by your 
letter that you had, at the head of the soldiers and the 
provincials, solemnised my accession to the empire with 
all due joy and zeal. 


To THE Emperor Trajan 

Valerius Paulinus, Sir, having bequeathed to me the 
right of patronage^ over all his freedmen, except one, I 
intreat you to grant the freedom of Rome to three of them. 
To desire you to extend this favour to all of them would, 
I fear, be too unreasonable a trespass upon your indul- 
gence; which, in proportion as I have amply experienced, 
I ought to be so much the more cautious in troubling. 
The persons for whom I make this request are C. Valerius 
Astraeus, C. Valerius Dionysius, and C. Valerius Aper. 

* By the Papian law, which passed in the consulship of M. Papius Mutilus 
and Q. Poppeas Secundus, u. c. 761, if a freedman died worth a hundred 
thousand sesterces (or about $4,000 of our money), leaving only one child, 
his patron (that is, the master from whom he received his liberty) was 
entitled to half his estate; if he left two children, to one-third; but if more 
than two, then the patron was absolutely excluded. This was afterwards 
altered by Justinian, Inst. 1. iii. tit. 8. M. 



Trajan to Pliny 

You act most generously in so early soliciting in favour 
of those whom Valerius Paulinus has confided to your 
trust. I have accordingly granted the freedom of the city 
to such of his freedmen for whom you requested it, and 
have directed the patent to be registered: I am ready to 
confer the same on the rest, whenever you shall desire me. 


To THE Emperor Trajan 

P. Attius Aquila, a centurion of the sixth equestrian 
cohort, requested me, Sir, to transmit his petition to you, 
in favour of his daughter. I thought it would be unkind 
to refuse him this service, knowing, as I do, with what 
patience and kindness you attend to the petitions of the 


Trajan to Pliny 

I HAVE read the petition of P. Attius Aquila, centurion 
of the sixth equestrian cohort, which you sent to me; and 
in compliance with his request, I have conferred upon his 
daughter the freedom of the city of Rome. I send you 
at the same time the patent, which you will deliver to him. 


To the Emperor Trajan 

I REQUEST, Sir, your directions with respect to the recover- 
ing those debts which are due to the cities of Bithynia and 
Pontus, either for rent, or goods sold, or upon any other 
consideration. I find they have a privilege conceded to 
them by several proconsuls, of being preferred to other 

432 PLINY 

creditors; and this custom has prevailed as if it had been 
established by law. Your prudence, I imagine, will think 
it necessary to enact some settled rule, by which their rights 
may always be secured. For the edicts of others, how wisely 
soever founded, are but feeble and temporary ordinances, 
unless confirmed and sanctioned by your authority. 


Trajan to Pliny 

The right which the cities either of Pontus or Bithynia 
claim relating to the recovery of debts of whatever kind, 
due to their several communities, must be determined agree- 
ably to their respective laws. Where any of these com- 
munities enjoy the privilege of being preferred to other 
creditors, it must be maintained; but, where no such privi- 
lege prevails, it is not just I should establish one, in preju- 
dice of private property. 


To THE Emperor Trajan 

The solicitor to the treasury of the city of Amisis insti- 
tuted a claim, Sir, before me against Julius Piso of about 
forty thousand denarii,* presented to him by the public above 
twenty years ago, with the consent of the general council 
and assembly of the city: and he founded his demand upon 
certain of your edicts, by which donations of this kind are 
prohibited. Piso, on the other hand, asserted that he had 
conferred large sums of money upon the community, and, 
indeed, had thereby expended almost the whole of his estate. 
He insisted upon the length of time which had intervened 
since this donation, and hoped that he should not be com- 
pelled, to the ruin of the remainder of his fortunes, to refund 
a present which had been granted him long since, in return 
for many good offices he had done the city. For this reason. 
Sir, I thought it necessary to suspend giving any judgment 
in this cause till I shall receive your directions. 
^ About $7,000. 



Trajan to Pliny 

Though by my edicts I have ordained that no largesses 
shall be given out of the public money, yet, that numberless 
private persons may not be disturbed in the secure pos- 
session of their fortunes, those donations which have been 
made long since ought not to be called in question or revoked. 
We will not therefore enquire into anything that has been 
transacted in this affair so long ago as twenty years; for 
I would be no less attentive to secure the repose of every 
private man than to preserve the treasure of every public 


To THE Emperor Trajan 

The Pompeian law, Sir, which is observed in Pontus and 
Bithynia, does not direct that any money for their admission 
shall be paid in by those who are elected into the senate by 
the censors. It has, however, been usual for such members 
as have been admitted into those assemblies, in pursuance of 
the privilege which you were pleased to grant to some par- 
ticular cities, of receiving above their legal number, to pay 
one* or two thousand denarii^ on their election. Subsequent 
to thiSj the proconsul Anicius Maximus ordained (though in- 
deed his edict related to some few cities only) that those who 
were elected by the censors should also pay into the treasury 
a certain sum, which varied in different places. It remains, 
therefore, for your consideration whether it would not be 
proper to settle a certain sum for each member who is elected 
into the councils to pay upon his entrance; for it well be- 
comes you, whose every word and action deserves to be im- 
mortalized, to establish laws that shall endure for ever. 

^ About $175. * About $350. 

434 PLINY 


Trajan to Pliny 

I CAN give no general directions applicable to all the cities 
of Bithynia, in relation to those who are elected members 
of their respective councils, whether they shall pay an hon- 
orary fee upon their admittance or not. I think that the 
safest method which can be pursued is to follow the particu- 
lar laws of each city; and I also think that the censors ought 
to make the sum less for those who are chosen into the 
senate contrary to their inclinations than for the rest. 


To THE Emperor Trajan 

The Pompeian law, Sir, allows the Bithynians to give the 
freedom of their respective cities to any person they think 
proper, provided he is not a foreigner, but native of some 
of the cities of this province. The same law specifies the par- 
ticular causes for which the censors may expel any member 
the senate, but makes no mention of foreigfners. Certain of 
the censors therefore have desired my opinion whether they 
ought to expel a member if he should happen to be a for- 
eigner. But I thought it necessary to receive your instruc- 
tions in this case; not only because the law, though it for- 
bids foreigners to be admitted citizens, does not direct that 
a senator shall be expelled for the same reason, but because 
I am informed that in every city in the province a great 
number of the senators are foreigners. If, therefore, this 
clause of the law, which seems to be antiquated by a long 
custom to the contrary, should be enforced, many cities, as 
well as private persons, must be injured by it. I have an- 
nexed the heads of this law to my letter. 



Trajan to Pliny 

You might well be doubtful, my dearest Secundus, what 
reply to give to the censors, who consulted you concerning 
their right to elect into the senate foreign citizens, though 
of the same province. The authority of the law on one side, 
and long custom prevailing against it on the other, might 
justly occasion you to hesitate. The proper mean to observe 
in this case will be to make no change in what is past, but 
to allow those senators who are already elected, though con- 
trary to law, to keep their seats, to whatever city they may 
belong; in all future elections, however, to pursue the direc- 
tions of the Pompeian law : for to give it a retrospective 
operation would necessarily introduce great confusion. 


To THE Emperor Trajan 

It is customary here upon any person taking the manly 
robe, solemnising his marriage, entering upon the office of 
a magistrate, or dedicating any public work, to invite the 
whole senate, together with a considerable part of the com- 
monalty, and distribute to each of the company one or two 
denarii.^ I request you to inform me whether you think 
proper this ceremony should be observed, or how far you 
approve of it. For myself, though I am of opinion that 
upon some occasions, especially those of public festivals, this 
kind of invitation may be permitted, yet, when carried so far 
as to draw together a thousand persons, and sometimes more, 
it seems to be going beyond a reasonable number, and has 
somewhat the appearance of ambitious largesses. 

^The denariu9=i7 cents. The sum total, then, distributed among one 
thousand persons at the rate of, say, two denarii a piece would amount to 
about $350. 

436 PLINY 


Trajan to Pliny 

You i^ry justly apprehended that those public invitations 
which extend to an immoderate number of people, and where 
the dole is distributed, not singly to a few acquaintances, but, 
as it were, to whole collective bodies, may be turned to the 
factious purposes of ambition. But I appointed you to your 
present government, fully relying upon your prudence, and 
in the persuasion that you would take proper measures for 
regulating the manners and settling the peace of the province. 


To THE Emperor Trajan 

The athletic victors. Sir, in the Iselastic^ games, conceive 
that the stipend you have established for the conquerors be- 
comes due from the day they are crowned: for it is not at 
all material, they say, what time they were triumphantly 
conducted into their country, but when they merited that 
honour. On the contrary, when I consider the meaning of 
the term Iselastic, I am strongly inclined to think that it is 
intended the stipend should commence from the time of their 
public entry. They likewise petition to be allowed the treat 
you give at those combats which you have converted into 
Iselastic, though they were conquerors before the appoint- 
ment of that institution : for it is but reasonable, they assert, 
that they should receive the reward in this instance, as they 
are deprived of it at those games which have been divested 
of the honour of being Iselastic, since their victory. But I 
am very doubtful, whether a retrospect should be admitted in 
the case in question, and a reward given, to which the claim- 

1 These games are called Iselastic from the Greek word tldtXavvia, invehor, 
because the victors, drawn by white horses, and wearing crowns on their 
heads, were conducted with great pomp into their respective cities, which 
they entered through a breach in the walls made for that purpose; inti- 
mating, as Plutarch observes, that a city which produced such able and 
victorious citizens, had little occasion for the defence of walls (Cata- 
naeus). They received also annually a certain honourable stipend from 
the public. M. 


ants had no right at the time they obtained the victory. I 
beg, therefore, you would be pleased to direct my judgment 
in these points, by explaining the intention of your own bene- 


Trajan to Pliny 

The stipend appointed for the conqueror in the Iselastic 
games ought not^ I think, to commence till he makes his 
triumphant entry into his city. Nor are the prizes, at those 
combats which I thought proper to make Iselastic, to be ex- 
tended backwards to those who were victors before that 
alteration took place. With regard to the plea which these 
athletic combatants urge, that they ought to receive the 
Iselastic prize at those combats which have been made Ise- 
lastic subsequent to their conquests, as they are denied it in 
the same case where the games have ceased to be so, it 
proves nothing in their favour ; for notwithstanding any new 
arrangements which has been made relating to these games, 
they are not called upon to return the recompense which 
they received prior to such alteration. 


To THE Emperor Trajan 

I HAVE hitherto never. Sir, granted an order for post- 
chaises to any person, or upon any occasion, but in affairs 
that relate to your administration. I find myself, however, 
at present under a sort of necessity of breaking through this 
fixed rule. My wife having received an account of her 
grandfather's death, and being desirous to wait upon her 
aunt with all possible expedition, I thought it would be un- 
kind to deny her the use of this privilege ; as the grace of so 
tender an office consists in the early discharge of it, and as I 
well knew a journey which was founded in filial piety could 
not fail of your approbation. I should think myself highly 

438 PLINY 

ungrateful therefore, were I not to acknowledge that, among 
other great obligations which I owe to your indulgence, I 
have this in particular, that, in confidence of your favour, I 
have ventured to do, without consulting you, what would 
have been too late had I waited for your consent. 


Trajan to Pliny 

You did me justice, my dearest Secundus, in confiding in 
my affection towards you. Without doubt, if you had waited 
for my consent to forward your wife in her journey by means 
of those warrants which I have entrusted to your care, the 
use of them would not have answered your purpose; since 
it was proper this visit to her aunt should have the ad- 
ditional recommendation of being paid with all possible 





Cicero, Marcus Tullius 

Letters of Marcus Tullius